Rihanna posted a message of solidarity for both sides of the Israel-Gaza conflict. It drew plenty of praise — and anger.


(JTA) — Grammy-winning pop star Rihanna called for an end to the Israel-Gaza violence, saying her “heart is breaking” in a rare show of solidarity for both the Israeli and Palestinian sides by a mainstream U.S. celebrity.

“Innocent Israeli and Palestinian children are hiding in bomb shelters…There needs to be some kind of resolve! We are sadly watching innocent people fall victim to notions perpetuated by government and extremists, and this cycle needs to be broken!” she wrote on Instagram to her over 95 million followers on Wednesday.

Most celebrities speaking out on the issue have been highly critical of Israel’s actions in the conflict, which grew out of a series of protests in Jerusalem throughout the month-long Ramadan holiday and ratcheted up when Hamas militants began firing rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The few others who have tried to express solidarity with both sides, such as Israel movie star Gal Gadot, have been hit with waves of comments from pro-Palestinian critics.

With so many followers, Rihanna’s stance unsurprisingly drew an array of responses.

Dozens of commenters praised the statement, many of whom expressing gratitude that she used her large platform to draw attention to the conflict.

“Thank you for speaking on this. As a person of Muslim background I agree on putting the kids first,” one user commented.

But Newsweek reported that the singer’s post also drew dozens of comments with the hashtag #FreePalestine. One user wrote: “There are no bomb shelters in palestine.”

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