Justin Timberlake, Zionist

I never understood people’s obsession with Justin Timberlake. Sure, he’s a good dancer, and some of his songs are catchy, but what’s so impressive?

Last week, he changed my mind, though. I was smitten by Timberlake’s Instagram photo of his praying at the Kotel, or Western Wall, in Jerusalem. Clearly I’m not the only one who feels this way, as the picture already has over 260,000 hearts on Instagram.

To accompany the photo, JT tweeted “The Holy Land… What an experience. I will never forget this day. #Israel”. If you haven’t been following the news, it’s that hashtag that’s stirred controversy among Timberlake’s fans, some of whom believe “#Palestine” should have been the hashtag.

Timberlake was in Israel to perform in Tel Aviv, Israel’s large, cosmopolitan city. Coincidentally, his concert was scheduled for Jerusalem Day, the Israeli holiday that celebrates Jerusalem’s reunification following 1967’s Six Day War.

Before performing, he traveled to Jerusalem with his wife, actress Jessica Biel, and his parents shortly after their flight landed at 3am. Given the timing, this was clearly not some publicity stunt; it was a trip of personal meaning.

And who can blame JT? Anyone who has ever visited Jerusalem can attest to its incredible sense of history and magical spirituality. The city pulses with a sense of being part of something powerful, something larger and more meaningful than any one of us alone. That is all the more true at the Kotel, Judaism’s holiest site. Clearly the visit moved Timberlake, who may or may not be personally religious, but most certainly is not Jewish.

The photo is heartwarming not least because it captures a celebrity looking humbled and awed in the presence of the Divine. So much of current popular culture denies the existence of anything transcendent, let alone timeless, in our world. This is a subtle reminder that we humans are neither omniscient nor omnipotent. The believers among us pray because we must. Prayer matters, because we often need guidance and because we can’t do momentous things, like bring peace to Israel and its neighbors, alone.

As for laying the groundwork for a more peaceful world, Timberlake also deserves credit for simply performing in Israel. While music should ideally be a unifying, apolitical force for good, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has politicized performing in Israel and scared away performers including Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, and Annie Lennox. That’s a shame, not least because as even the biblical kings knew, good music can be healing.

Timberlake’s reaction to the public uproar has been noteworthy. In addition to performing what major Israeli newspaper Haaretz described as “two hours of pure pleasure” for 46,000 fans in Tel Aviv, Timberlake has stood fast. He has not deleted his Instagram photo or the related Tweet, nor has he apologized for his Israel-friendly sentiments.

Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow, Timberlake is not whining about the public attacks. He’s sticking by his words and deeds, and by the Middle East’s lone liberal democracy. JT has earned my respect.


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  • Mary

    Way to Go JT! 🙂

    I guess I can’t hate him anymore for marrying Jessica Biel… LOL

    MK in SJ
    http://www.SPX90.com – get paid to lose weight!

  • Tillie

    Lots of great talking points for you Zionists. Shame it completely glosses over how the “only liberal democracy” in the Middle East is engaged in hundreds of human rights violations, not only against the Palestinians but also against non-Europeans. Apparently, the Right of Return only applies to white, Eastern European jews, and not to Beta Jews from Ethiopia, etc. They’re really pushing for a new apartheid in this wonderful democracy.

    • Johann Amadeus Metesky

      It’s a capital crime in the Palestinian Authority to sell land to a Jew. Tell me again about Israel being an apartheid state. Please, please, boycott anything and everything that has anything to do with Zionists and Israel. No cellphones for you. No polio vaccine for your kids.

  • Wyfbane

    On PiL(Public Image Ltd)) playing Israel August 2010: “If Elvis-f******-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he’s suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they’re treated.”
    ~John Lydon (Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols)


    • Ian

      see Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mali, Tunisia and Senegal.
      And many others which also have free and fair elections, though aren’t necessarily democracies.

  • Mimi Marcus

    . . . and you, Missy, earn our respect for being having such insite and honestly about the things that are important to you and your family – and for being able to share them in your writing, which is clean, to the point, and inspiring. You are a beacon in the night for those seeking truth and integrity.

  • Alex

    You don’t think it’s a little bit irresponsible to title this article, “Justin Timberlake, Zionist”? He didn’t express an attachment to Zionism at all. Like you said, he had a transcendent experience. As much as we can all appreciate celebrity support for Israel, I don’t think we thank them by attaching their names to flags that they are not themselves waving.

  • I am struck by the beauty of your words and perspective: the photo “captures a celebrity looking humbled and awed in the presence of the Divine. So much of current popular culture denies the existence of anything transcendent, let alone timeless, in our world. This is a subtle reminder that we humans are neither omniscient nor omnipotent”. Thank you for your own backbone is posting this article!

  • Scott

    Thanks, Tillie, for parroting the Hamas talking points. I guess someone has to troll these boards…

    I knew from previous experience that Timberlake was, deep down, a pretty good guy. What really struck me here was the comments from John Lydon. It’s performers like these two and others such as Scarlett Johannson (remember the kerfuffle over her pitching Sodastream during the Super Bowl?) who really show the Tillies of the world that Israel isn’t the terrible ogre in the Middle East that most of the Muslims and, sadly, some of our own government, says it is.

    Is Israel perfect? Heck, no. Is any institution run by human beings ever going to be perfect? NO! But the Israeli government is as close to all-inclusive as anything you’ll find within 1,000 miles of the Wailing Wall!

  • Steve

    Right on Scott. Really sick of the ignorant Tillies of the world.

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