When it comes to visiting the Holy Land, there’s no peace in the Middle East for Justin Bieber.
The teen idol was on the receiving end of a bad rap after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrapped a meeting with him when Bieber supposedly snubbed young victims of Palestinian rocket attacks.
Here’s what really went down…
A spokesman for Netanyahu told the New York Times that a member of Bieber’s camp had contacted his office about setting up a summit, to which the prime minister quickly agreed—with the proviso that Israeli children under intense rocket fire near the Gaza border be invited.
“Sadly, [the meeting] proved impossible,” according to the spokesman, noting that the “Baby” singer’s management wasn’t keen on the idea and suggesting he may have been throwing his lot in with a growing number of artists like Elvis Costello and the Pixies who have decided to boycott Israel because of the occupation of Palestinian lands.
Not so, said a rep for the beleaguered Bieb.
According to both parties, the appointment purportedly set for Wednesday night had never been finalized; and secondly, the talks ended because of miscommunication and logistical issues, not political reasons.
“Justin welcomes the chance to meet with kids facing difficult circumstances, regardless of their background, and in fact, he had already invited children from the Sderot area,” said the rep, referring to the Israeli border town.
Bieber arrived in the Holy Land on Monday with his family and is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on Thursday. But like everywhere else he’s been, touring Israel’s holiest sites has been difficult with the ever-annoying paparazzi always on his tail, a fact of life he recently lamented.
“You would think paparazzi would have some respect in holy places. All I wanted was the chance to walk where jesus did here in isreal [sic],” Justin tweeted. “They should be ashamed of themselves. Take pictures of me eating but not in a place of prayer, ridiculous.”
Frustration mounting, the 17-year-old Canadian crooner then swore he’d spend the rest of the week in his hotel, adding, “u happy?”
Welcome to his world.
As for the matter of Netanyahu’s snub, Bieber commented on it as well, albeit diplomatically: “I want to see this country and all the places I’ve dreamed of and whether it’s the paps or being pulled into politics it’s been frustrating.”
He then announced to all his Beliebers out there that while he’s excited about his concert, he’s also “gonna take a little break from Twitter and enjoy this time with my family until then.”
Peace be unto you, Justin.