Monday 11 December 2017

Popstar Bieber finds himself in eye of political storm on Israel visit

Ian Deitch in Jerusalem

POP prince Justin Bieber found himself in the eye of an unlikely political storm last night on a trip to Israel.

The country's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a meeting with the popstar after the Canadian teenage sensation complained about being "pulled into politics" on his Twitter account, according to reports.

Representatives of Bieber, who is performing in Tel Aviv today, were forced to deny reports that the proposed meeting with the Israeli prime minister fell through after the singer allegedly refused to meet with invited children from a region affected by enemy rockets.

Scooter Braun, a spokesman for the singer, dismissed the report as "ridiculous", adding: "We never asked to meet with (Netanyahu) nor has anyone connected with us asked to meet him."

However on Tuesday Bieber, who had complained about the paparazzi in the country, wrote on his Twitter account: "i want to see this country and all the places ive dreamed of and whether its the paps or being pulled into politics its been frustrating".

He has tweeted numerous times over his frustration at not being able to visit Israeli holy sites. The teenager has holed himself up in his hotel to escape the country's notoriously aggressive paparazzi.

A spokesman for Mr Netanyahu said Bieber's representatives had initiated the meeting, and the prime minister thought it would be a good idea. He said Mr Netanyahu hoped to bring children from Israel's embattled south, which has absorbed dozens of Palestinian rocket attacks in recent weeks, and give them a "happy experience."

"Unfortunately it has not proved feasible," said the official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. He refused to elaborate, but Israel's Channel 2 TV said Bieber had told Netanyahu's office he did not want to make the visit political.

The Yediot Ahronot tabloid headlined its coverage "Bibi vs. Bieber," using the prime minister's nickname.

Ronit Arbel, an Israeli spokeswoman for Bieber, denied the reports. She said there were never any plans -- or even discussions -- about a meeting with Netanyahu.

Celebrities ranging from Elton John to Sarah Palin to Leonardo DiCaprio have also had a long history of trouble with Israeli paparazzi.

Irish Independent

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