In what could be the most intriguingly inconsequential news to come out of the conflict-plagued Mideast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a sit-down with Justin Bieber this week. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Netanyahu backed out over the teen idol's alleged refusal to meet with Israeli kids from areas hit by Palestinian rocket fire. Bieber's reps say their client couldn't squeeze everything in before a Thursday concert in Tel Aviv. Who's the bad guy here?
It's Bibi, not the Biebs: Netanyahu is just trying to make Bieber "an unwitting pawn in the Israel-Palestine conflict," according to Hypervocal. The teenage Canadian pop star grew up in a devoutly Christian household, and he merely wanted a memorable trip to the Holy Land. It's "sort of shameful" that Netanyahu treated the visit like "a golden PR opportunity" by using "Bieber fever" to focus attention on Hamas rocket fire from Gaza.
"Bieber + Bibi: The golden calf of Bieber fever sweeps through Israel"
Bieber is the one who comes off as a jerk: "Good for Netanyahu for canceling the meeting with this vapid young gazillionaire," says Debbie Schlussel at her blog. Bieber had an opportunity to show the young girls who worship him that he supports Israel. But if he's going to "blow off these young terror victims," my advice to Bieber's Israeli fans is to tell him to "go to hell."
"Jerk: Justin Bieber refuses to meet Israeli kid victims of Hamas terror"
This is all the paparazzi's fault: It's silly to politicize Bieber's trip, says Alyssa Moody at The Daily Caller. He wanted to meet with Netanyahu and the kids, but he has been so swarmed by paparazzi that he has been forced to hole up in his hotel room, and may have to cancel planned visits to Christian historical sites. Bieber explained his predicament on Twitter, saying, "You would think paparazzi would have some respect in holy places. All I wanted was the chance to walk where Jesus did...."
"Justin Bieber's Middle Eastern drama"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- Pope Francis' American problem
- Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week