Shakira visits Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Facebook campaign to convince pop star Shakira to skip an Israeli conference received more than 1,800 likes, but Shakira visited Israel anyway.

The Colombian singer, whose father is Lebanese, took part Tuesday in the third annual Israeli President’s Conference. She sppeared as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Shakira arrived in Israel on Monday evening and visited the Western Wall.

The page, called "Shakira: Say NO to apartheid and YES to Freedom For Palestine," was established in recent days to endorse an open letter to the singer calling on her to boycott Israel. Written by members of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, the letter was signed by people with Hebrew- and Arabic-sounding names.

"If you attend the Presidential Conference, you will accept that a Palestinian fan of your work living under Israeli occupation will not be allowed by law — and denied by an illegal wall built on annexed private Palestinian land, fences and military checkpoints — the chance to attend it," the letter said.

The conference brings together more than 3,000 Jewish and world leaders. It was Shakira’s first visit to Israel.

Visitors to Shakira’s personal Facebook fan page also urged the singer to stay away from the conference.

"Don’t forget you roots! Stand with your people. Stand up for HUMANITY!!!! Say NO to apartheid and YES to Freedom For Palestine. We urge you to cancel your participation in the Israeli Presidential Conference!" read one entry on the comments under her new single release.

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