Ha’aretz reports that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cancelled his meeting with
world leader teen pop sensation Justin Bieber, over the latter’s refusal to meet with children living in communities under rocket attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his date with pop sensation Justin Bieber over the singer’s refusal to meet with children living in communities affected by Gaza rocket fire, Channel Two reported on Tuesday.
The prime minister was scheduled to host the young singer at his office in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, before Bieber’s Thursday night concert.
Taking advantage of the PR opportunity presented by the meeting with Bieber, Netanyahu’s advisers invited a group of children from communities near the Gaza border to attend.
The children had disembarked from a school bus just before it was hit by a Hamas rocket last Thursday, critically wounded a teen and moderately wounding the bus driver.
Bieber reportedly refused to meet the children, which led Netanyahu to cancel the meeting.
Bieber has returned fire (so to speak)
Justin Bieber claims he’s very much pro-kid during his stay in Israel, despite what appears to be a pissed off Prime Minister who abruptly canceled a meeting with the pop star.
According to Israeli news reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 86’d a scheduled meeting with the Biebs, after he reportedly refused to meet with kids who survived a recent rocket attack in Gaza.
Bieber’s rep is not denying Justin wouldn’t meet the kids, but says it’s more of a scheduling thing: “Despite some logistical challenges, Justin is enjoying his first trip to Israel.”
P.R. guru Matthew Hiltzik adds, “Justin welcomes the chance to meet with kids facing difficult circumstances, regardless of their background, and in fact, he has already invited children from the Sderot area to be his guests with other fans at his concert in Tel Aviv on Thursday night.”
It seems to me like two things may be at play here:
- Bieber does not want to be seen as “taking sides” in the conflict
- Bieber just wants some “alone time” (as reinforced by this report)
So much for saying the Shema.
Here O, Israel
The Lord is Our G-d
The Lord is One
Either way, Bieber is choosing himself over others. Sure, he is just a kid and entitled to some R&R. But he also happens to be a role model and – like it or not – has the ability to make a difference. If meeting him will provide cheer to some youngsters affected by daily rocket fire, Bieber should put aside his own selfish needs and meet them.
As it stands, Helen Thomas would be proud.
Update: The thick plottens (yes that is deliberate):
However, officials from the various communities in the south denied the children had ever been invited to take part in such a meeting, further complicating the Prime Minister’s Office in conflicting reports.
“What meeting?” asked David Tietz, 10, who was on the school bus that was hit by an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza. He mentioned, however, that free tickets to Bieber’s upcoming show had been offered to the younger residents of the rocket-plagued area.
Sderot Municipality also denied hearing of such a meeting, but confirmed that it had received 200 tickets to the show. “We know nothing about a meeting, with Netanyahu or Bieber,” said spokeswoman Sima Gal.
Bieber’s manager also denied the singer was in any way opposed to supporting the children of the south, claiming that he had willfully donated tickets to his show and would “love to see them there”.
Braun told the Yedioth Ahronoth reporter who contacted him that he was the first to notify him of such a meeting and its evident cancelation.
So Bieber does not deny refusing to meet the kids, but the kids deny being invited to meet Bieber in the first place.