(October 6, 2019 / Jewish Journal) Following the backlash faced by singer Demi Lovato after returning home from Israel, her mother, Dianna De La Garza, defended their recent trip in an Oct. 3 Instagram post.
The post featured De La Garza and Lovato’s hands on the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, which De La Garza called “the highlight of my trip to Israel,” saying she would “never forget that day … or that trip as we celebrated life and Christianity as we learned about The Jewish faith while listening to the Muslim Call to Prayer.”
De La Garza added that “there was no fighting, no judgement [sic], no cruel words … only love. And I will undoubtedly, unapologetically go again one day.”
Her post came on the same day that her daughter issued a since-deleted Instagram story apologizing for her trip to Israel. “Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return,” wrote Lovato. “This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT and now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry. Sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience.”
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Praying at the Western Wall with my beautiful daughter @ddlovato in the Old City of Jerusalem was the highlight of my trip to Israel. I will never forget that day… or that trip as we celebrated life and Christianity as we learned about The Jewish faith while listening to the Muslim Call to Prayer. There was no fighting, no judgement, no cruel words…only love. And I will undoubtedly, unapologetically go again one day. ???? #oldcityjerusalem #wailingwall #westernwall #peace #istandwithdemi
Lovato’s Instagram posts on Israel included visits to Yad Vashem and Shalva National Center, and being baptized in the Jordan River. Comments on the posts are currently disabled, but screenshots show that Lovato frequently told critics that she had no opinion on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin told The Jerusalem Post that Lovato and her mother were brought to Israel as a part of a program through his ministry and the Foreign Ministry.
“The program focuses not only on major international conferences held in Jerusalem and giving the Protector of Jerusalem Award (which last year was given to the Czech president), but also on organizing the visits of many public opinion-shapers to Jerusalem, including to historical sites such as the Western Wall, the City of David, the Old City, the Mount of Olives and more,” said Elkin. “As part of the ministry’s program, it initiates visits to Jerusalem by celebrities whose social media exposure is generally greater than major media outlets.”
The ministry also issued a statement to the Post saying that “there will always be those who try to put pressure on celebrities who are considering coming to Israel for a performance or spiritual and personal visit” but the ministry will continue their “efforts to promote Jerusalem and its beauty to vast and diverse audiences around the world.”
This article was first published by the Jewish Journal.
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