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Bibi-Bieber Summit Canceled Amid Controversy

Teen singer, feeling harassed, didn’t want to meet with Gaza children, too

Marc Tracy
April 12, 2011
Justin Bieber performing last month.(Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
Justin Bieber performing last month.(Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

You thought the visit of a quasi-Jewish 17-year-old mega-popstar to Israel would go simply? Ha! Bieber arrived in the Holy Land yesterday in advance of his Tel Aviv gig Thursday, and had a planned meeting at Benjamin Netanyahu’s office tomorrow. However, the prime minister has canceled the event over Bieber’s refusal to meet with children who live near the Gaza border who had disembarked from the school bus that was hit by a missile last week, whom Netanyahu’s office had also invited. (Roughly 700 kids from towns near the Gaza border affected by the past weeks’ spurt of rocket fire have already received free tickets to the show).

For comment from Bieber, look no further than his Twitter feed. Much of it is devoted to frustration at the papparazzi (“paps”) for taking pictures of him while he was in church (quotes sic): “You would think paparazzi would have some respect in holy places,” he wrote. “All I wanted was the chance to walk where jesus did here in isreal.” However, two hours ago, he wrote, “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.” Bieber’s handlers did the kid a serious disservice if they didn’t warn him this would happen.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.