Demi Lovato, an actress and singer best known for her starring roles in Disney’s “Camp Rock” and “Sonny with a Chance,” is now being accused of creating Zionist propoganda. This past week, she received massive backlash on social media for her recent trip to Israel. In a now-deleted Instagram story responding to the backlash, Lovato stated that she was “extremely frustrated. [She] accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. No one told [her] there would be anything wrong with going or that [she] could possibly be offending anyone.” However, the trip wasn’t just free: her posts were blatantly sponsored, but with nothing on the actual content specifying that fact, or by whom they were sponsored. According to a Ynet Report, Demi Lovato was paid $150,000 to visit and post about Israel, with $57,000 of that coming directly from the budget of Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and the other portion coming directly from a private donor.
According to Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or BDS, an anti-Zionist group fighting for Palestinian rights, this sponsorship of Demi Lovato is a blatant example of ‘art-washing.’ ‘Art-washing,’ or covering up settler colonialism and human rights abuses with the visits and positive opinions of cultural figures visiting, is precisely what many anti-Zionists frequently accuse Israel of doing, and unfortunately, it seems as though with this occurrence, they have been caught red handed.
Certain people, including journalist Madeline Fry for the Washington Examiner, feel as though taking a trip to Israel is not a crime, as she stated in an October 3rd article, “It’s unclear whether the backlash was just in [Demi’s] Instagram comments, but it’s disappointing to see the star cave to an online mob and apologize for something so innocuous.” Travelling unpaid is perhaps “innocuous,” however, it is clear that those gifting Lovato this trip had ulterior motives: promoting Israel’s reputation.
Whether you agree with BDS’s message and methods or not, the ambiguity of funds and motives behind Lovato’s posts seem to be rather clear indicators of ‘art-washing.’ Certain members of the Jewish diaspora, many of whom voice staunch disagreements to BDS’s message, have also been quick to be critical of a star being paid to post pictures simply to improve the reputation of a country committing human rights abuses on a massive scale.