Madonna lobs shirtless pics in celebs’ Israel-Gaza opinion campaign


Madonna is the latest celebrity to weigh in on the Israel-Gaza conflict, adding herself to the growing pile of famous people who haven’t been doing that very well since the fighting started weeks ago.

The Material Girl posted a shot of herself on Thursday with two shirtless backup dancers, one of whom had a Star of David on his six-pack while the other’s abs were emblazed with the star-and-crescent symbol of Islam.

“No Separation! We all bleed the same color! #ceasefire #peaceinthemiddleeast #livingforlove,” she captioned the Instagram photo.


On Friday morning, with a 72-hour ceasefire making headlines, she posted a picture of the two symbol-laden men holding hands and, using the Arabic word for “God willing” and the Hebrew phrase that means “Thank God,” wrote, “Cease Fire ! Inshallah!!! Baruch Hashem!! Praise the Lord! #ceasefireforever #peaceinthemiddleeast #livingforlove.”

Of course, that ceasefire lasted less than two hours. Meanwhile, the often-angry comments about her photos were still rolling in much later in the day.

At least Madonna didn’t appear to be taking sides in the conflict, unlike Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and other Spanish luminaries who seemed to be doing so Tuesday when, en masse, they published a signed open letter (written in Spanish) that described Israel’s actions as “genocide.”

But wait -- they didn’t exactly mean it.

Husband and wife both backtracked, with Cruz explaining that she was “not an expert on the situation” but was “aware of the complexity of it,” and meant only to take a stand for peace in the region. Bardem issued a lengthy statement Thursday in which he said he too had been simply pleading for peace and that he and Cruz were far from anti-Semitic people.

Others have just tweeted a #FreePalestine hashtag, with One Direction singer Zayn Malik keeping the message up on his page -- and allowing the fighting to go on in the related responses -- while Rihanna and the Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard deleted identical tweets shortly after sending them out.

“Previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will,” Howard said in a two-tweet follow-up. “I apologize if I offended anyone with my previous tweet, it was a mistake!”


Mia Farrow and John Cusack were of a mind to let people know they’d been to the region, with Cusack retweeting any number of pro-Gaza articles over the following weeks.

Mark Ruffalo tweeted: “Empathizing w/ Gaza does NOT make me anti-Semitic, nor pro-Hamas or anti-Israel. It makes me human,” taking that quote from a story posted on Daily Kos.

Selena Gomez, like Madonna, went the Instagram route, saying “Please pray for those families and babies today. Please always remember what’s important in life. It’s not any of this. We are here to help, inspire and love. Be that change. #wearethenextgeneration” in a caption on a picture that read “It’s about humanity. Pray for Gaza.”

Later she noted that “of course to be clear, I am not picking any sides. I am praying for peace and humanity for all!”

When asked about Gomez’s statements, Israel-backer Joan Rivers snarked to a swarm of paparazzi, “Oh, yeah. Selena Gomez. That college grad,” getting a few laughs before wondering out loud if Gomez knew how to spell “Palestinian.”

The general PR takeaway here?

World peace good. Taking sides bad. Celebrities, like pageant contestants, may find themselves on thin ice.

Follow Christie D’Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ and Google+. Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter @LATcelebs.