Popular Swedish artist Zara Larsson has entered the debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by slamming Tel Aviv as an "apartheid state".
In a now-deleted post on Instagram, the 23-year-old commented on the situation in the Middle East, where hundreds of rockets were exchanged between Gaza and Israel amid outbreaks of ethnic violence, to her six million followers.
"We have to stand up for Jewish people all over the world facing anti-Semitic violence and threats, but we must also call out a state upholding apartheid and KILLING civilians, funded by American dollars", Zara Larsson wrote.
"One don't [sic] have to go against the other. What's happening right now in Palestine is a SHAME. A CRIME", she concluded, adding the hashtag #freepalestine.
While the comment itself soon disappeared, it sparked a fierce debate among her compatriots. Some subscribed to Larsson's stance, whereas others slammed it as divisive, hateful, and downright anti-Semitic.
"Very well and wisely formulated position. This is exactly what this is about. Protect Jews and their faith but distance yourselves from oppression that takes place in the shadow of beliefs. The conflict is not religious, it is political", one user ventured.
Mycket bra och klokt formulerat ställningstagande. Det är precis det här det handlar om. Värna judar och deras tro men ta avstånd från förtryck som sker i skuggan av trosuppfattning. Konflikten är inte religiös den är politisk https://t.co/FVCvhyISEr— David Albertsson (@davidalb55) May 11, 2021
"I believe the Israel-Palestine conflict is complex. How nice of Zara Larsson to teach us less knowledgeable university graduates about how simple it really is", another one countered.
Jag tycker Israel-Palestinakonflikten är komplex. Skönt att Zara Larsson kan undervisa oss mindre vetande akademiker om hur enkel den egentligen är.— Xarxa (@XarxaGnom) May 11, 2021
"When artists engage in political assessments, it is rarely particularly successful. Zara Larsson should refrain from spreading lies about Israel. If she wants to make an effort, the local emergency medical service gratefully accepts donations. Hamas' escalation harvests victims on both sides", the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association tweeted.
När artister ger sig in i världspolitiska bedömningar blir det sällan särskilt lyckat. Zara Larsson borde avstå från att sprida lögner om Israel.— Sverige-Israel (@SverigeIsrael) May 11, 2021
Vill hon göra en insats tar den lokala akutsjukvården tacksamt emot donationer. Hamas eskalering skördar offer på båda sidor. pic.twitter.com/0OnmIYoxlU
"Lucky us to have experts Greta and Zara Larsson who seem very familiar with the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It benefits society so much when celebrities speak out about things that aren't completely propaganda. Thank you for resolving the conflict that has been going on for 54 years now", another one wrote sarcastically.
Det är väldigt bra att vi har experterna Greta och Zara Larsson som verkar väldigt insatta i Israel och Palestina konflikten. Det gynnar samhället så mycket när kändisar uttalar sig om saker som inte alls är propaganda.Tack för löste konflikten som pågått i 54 år nu. #svpol #fred— Axel (@axelaxelsam) May 11, 2021
"You sing well, Zara Larsson, but are a complete idiot when it comes to politics. So do us all a favour, keep singing but shut your breadhole as for politics", writer Ramona Fransson tweeted.
"This is proof that Zara Larsson is an open anti-Semite. She really has no brain", another one joined in.
Others, however, ventured that Larsson, for once, was "based".
Baserade Zara— Dumokraten 🇸🇪 (@dumokraten) May 12, 2021
Award-winning singer, influencer, and celebrity figure Zara Larsson has a reputation as an avowed feminist and left-winger. In her forthright comments about life, politics, and sex, she supported Black Lives Matter, attacked Trump voters (tweeting "Can old people die already" following the 2016 election), defended abortion and slammed men in general, earning herself the image of a "man hater".