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Shakira betrays Palestinians with Peres beso

Shakira smooches Shimon Peres
Moshe Milner, GPO

Shakira, the Colombian pop diva (of Lebanese descent), spoke courageously against Israel's 2006 aggression in the land of her forebears, calling on "the leaders of the US and of the world's great powers to stop this war, since we all know they could stop it. We want something better for our children, for the children of Colombia, the children of Israel, the children of Palestine, the children of Lebanon, the children of the world." In 2003, when Bush's Iraq invasion was pending, she incorporated into her concerts a sketch with giant puppets of the Grim Reaper playing chess with Bush and Saddam as the pieces. Good stuff.

But now the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the sexy superstar has just appeared as a UNICEF "goodwill ambassador" at the third annual Israeli President's Conference—in defiance of a Facebook appeal by sanctions advocates. The Facebook page, "Shakira: Say NO to apartheid and YES to Freedom for Palestine," has won 1,926 "likes." It links to an open letter, signed by both Israelis and Palestinians, urging Shakira, "Please sing freedom for Palestine instead of endorsing Shimon Peres and Israeli apartheid!"

Peres, a two-time Israeli prime minister the current Israeli president (a largely ceremonial position), presided over the conference, and a photo on the Israeli news portal YNet shows prez Peres and the Arabo-Colombian diva sharing a sociable smooch. She was quoted with predictable platitudes about how  the Holy Land is the "perfect place to talk about how urgent it is to invest in education." The Palestinian students whose schoolhouse was destroyed by IDF troops in the Jordan Valley earlier this year might view this statement with a degree of irony, as might those whose schools have been closed by the West Bank wall, or attacked with tear gas during graduation ceremonies.

Peres, in his own comments at the conference, praised Shakira, saying that she represents "hope and innocence." The reference to "innocence" could be read in a less than flattering light.

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