Celebrities are learning that it’s divisive, and possibly even dangerous, to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
One Direction’s Zayn Malik was the latest to find out the hard way after he tweeted “#FreePalestine” to his 13 million followers on Sunday night and was rewarded with actual death threats.
“The message, which has been retweeted nearly 150,000 times, prompted some people to threaten Malik’s life — or, at least, to encourage the British singer to kill himself,” reports The Washington Post
British newspaper The Independent
writes, “It soon became apparent that not everyone agreed with [Malik’s] opinion on the emotionally charged conflict, that has seen over 1,000 Palestinians perish in Gaza and 43 Israelis killed. ‘U have fans in #Israel. It broke me that one of my idols wand me to die @benwinstone @harry_styles @onedirection [sic],’ one of the lighter tweets at him read.”
The Washington Post notes that Malik “may have a more personal connection to the conflict, given his Muslim upbringing.” But that’s not the case for all of the celebrities who have wandered into this controversial issue.
A the Washington Post notes, “Malik’s tweet was just the latest example of celebrities picking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and facing an immediate backlash for having spoken out. Two weeks ago, Rihanna deleted a ‘#FreePalestine’ tweet less than 10 tense minutes after it appeared and followed up with a message that read: ‘Let’s pray for peace and a swift end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Is there any hope?’”
“Earlier this month, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder unleashed an anti-war rant that the Jerusalem Post labeled an ‘anti-Israel diatribe,’” according to the Post, which reports that Vedder has since tried to clarify his comments online and onstage.
“NBA star Dwight Howard also insta-deleted a #FreePalestine tweet, saying it was ‘a mistake,’” says the Post. “He added: ‘I have never commented on international politics and never will.’”
Adds The Independent, “Piers Morgan was branded ‘Zionist scum’ for his stream of tweets on the topic of Israel-Gaza, in which he helpfully declared things like ‘I like Jews. I like Arabs’ and ‘Same nonsense made Northern Ireland a murderous tinderbox for 30 years.’”