Pop singer Demi Lovato has apologized following backlash to her recent visit to Israel, as details about the trip's sponsorship emerged Thursday.
"I'm extremely frustrated," the 27-year-old Lovato wrote in a since-removed Instagram Story post uploaded sometime after criticism arose to her Tuesday Instagram posts extolling her time in Jerusalem. "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, that was not my intention. 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. "Sorry I'm not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience."
Critics of the visit alluded to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which says on its website it desires "to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law."
Online outlets captured a screengrab of the post. Lovato appeared to confirm its authenticity by replying to two Instagram accounts containing it. On the page of @dmetriaspickle — who had written "we all feel sorry you're feeling so bad, we just meant to make you see whatever was going on there, it was not our intention … we all love you and just want you to be happy” — Lovato commented, "Oh don't worry, you guys made me feel terrible about it, and prob will continue to do so. I'll be hibernating," followed by a peace-sign emoji.
Ze'ev Elkin, Israel's Minister of Jerusalem Affairs said Thursday that his office contributed roughly $57,200 of what the Israeli news agency Ynet said was a total $150,000 paid to Lovato. An unnamed private donor contributed the remainder. The Ministry, Elkin said in a statement to The Jerusalem Post, "has been operating a broad program to establish the international status of Jerusalem and give international exposure to the general public. ... The successful visit of Demi Lovato ... is another step in implementing the program."
"Going against all advice right now and apologizing because it feels right to me and I'd rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people," Lovato wrote on Instagram Story. "I love my fans, all of them, from all over."
The Grammy Award-nominee has disabled comments on her Israel posts. Lovato's publicist did not respond to a Newsday request for comment.