Lebanese mega popstar Nancy Ajram in hot water over selfie with Israeli fans
Some social media users posted photos of the singer with women who appeared to be from Israel, criticising her for "not being careful". Some went as far as to accuse her of "normalisation".
One Twitter user from Lebanon shared images of the artist during her concerts in Cyprus, and what seemed to be a screenshot of one of the Israeli fans' Facebook profile, captioning the tweet: "Normalisation in art form."
التطبيع بصوره الفنية pic.twitter.com/Wa9b9gWiL7— Jamal Chaiito (@Jamalchaiito1) July 17, 2023
Lebanon and Israel do not share diplomatic ties, and Lebanese law prohibits citizens from having contact with Israelis.
But the response to the accusations has been much greater, with Ajram’s fans and others coming to her defence, ridiculing the idea that the singer is able to guess the nationality of fans before posing for a photograph.
Ajram, an award-winning artist whose music has spread far beyond the Arab region and has fans across the world, responded to the attacks in a statement.
"I will not give testimonies on my patriotism to anyone! I will not comment anymore, because my belonging to this land [Lebanon] and its roots transcends trivialities and remains above any consideration. [I am] Lebanese and Arab until the last breath. Thanks for the love and support," Ajram said.
The caption was written above a tweet reshared from 2017, when she had to respond to similar accusations after taking a photograph with another Israeli fan in Jordan who spoke Arabic.
At the time, Ajram said she had asked an Israeli journalist to leave the press conference she was holding during the Jerash festival.
كلمة حقّ ومش مهم نتتقد لننتقد.— Chadi Mansour (@chadiman) July 18, 2023
أذكر جيّدًا حين رفضت #نانسي_عجرم التحدث الى صحافية إسرائيلية أثناء مؤتمر صحفي في #مهرجان_جرش ٢٠٠٧ وطلبت من المنظمين إخراجها.
اليوم تُجلَد نانسي وتُصلب بسبب التقاط احداهن صورة برفقتها وصودف أنّها إسرائيلية.
بالله عليكم كيف لنجمة أن تحزر وتُخمن جنسية… pic.twitter.com/maaxNK0uzL
Translation: The truth be told. I remember well when Nancy Ajram refused to speak to an Israeli journalist during a press conference at the Jerash Festival in 2017 and asked the organisers to remove her. Today, Nancy is being flogged and crucified because someone who happened to be Israeli took a picture with her.
For God’s sake, how can a star guess the nationality of a fan who asks for her picture? Is she meant to ask her where she’s from? Stop with your conspiracy theories and accusations of betrayal, and lecturing people on their patriotism.
Several Lebanese and Arab celebrities have found themselves in hot waters over the same issue before, after posing for photos with Israeli fans.
While several Arab states formally share ties with Israel – including Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco – most people across the region have refused to recognise Israel or normalise ties with it due to its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories and aggressions against the Palestinian people.