American pop star and actress Demi Lovato issued an apology after facing a fierce backlash for visiting Israel in recent weeks.
Lovato posted several photos from Israel on Wednesday, including pictures of her being baptized in the Jordan River, visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem and touring the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum.
She praised Israel in the posts, drawing the ire of pro-Palestinian activists online. On Wednesday night she apologized to her fans.
“I’m extremely frustrated. I accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. With that being said, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt or offended anyone,” Lovato wrote in a post to her 74 million Instagram followers.
“Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return. This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT and now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry,” she added.
It wasn’t immediately clear who had funded her trip.
Lovato apparently posted the photos after returning to the US.
In her post from the Jordan River, the two-time Grammy nominee wrote that she had Jewish ancestors. “There is something absolutely magical about Israel. I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God,” she tweeted.
“This trip has been so important for my well-being, my heart, and my soul. I’m grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to be able to fill the God-sized hole in my heart. Thank you for having me, Israel.”
She wrote that her heart was “absolutely broken in Yad Vashem,” and praised the Shalva National Center, a Jerusalem organization providing care to people with disabilities.
She has turned off fans’ ability to comment on the three sets of photos she posted from Israel, likely due to the negative reactions she received.