Selena Gomez posted "It's about Humanity. Pray For Gaza" on Instagram and Twitter, hours after stepping out at the premiere of her film Rudderless at the Ischia Global Film and Music Festival in Italy on Friday. The star has since clarified her message after drawing praise and condemnation from fans.
In contrast to Rihanna and Dwight Howard's ham-fisted #FreePalestine tweet and deletes of last week, notably scorned by Public Enemy frontman Chuck D and comedian D.L. Hughley, Gomez's pacifist post comes across as brave and heartfelt.
It could be argued that it's also impressive that the 21-year-old actress-singer directed some of the publicity and attention on her big day to a tragedy that's been unfolding for the past 11 days in the Gaza Strip.
Selena shared an image that was as simple as her message. A white background with black borders with "Humanity" bolded in red. The symbolism can't help but be associated with the blood that's been shed on both sides.
Of the latest violent crescendo between Israeli armed forces and Hamas Islamic militants:
Reuters reported nearly 300 Palestinians --- 80 of whom were children --- and one Israeli soldier have been killed since July 8, when fresh aggression sparked following last month's killing of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank and the death on July 2 of a Palestinian youth in a suspected revenge murder.
A five-hour ceasefire on July 17 later saw the start of Israel's ground attack, after Egypt's truce plan was rejected by Hamas and other militants on the grounds that it didn't meet their demands and wasn't consultative.
Update: NBC reports fatality numbers have increased to over 420 Palestinians (thousands more have reportedly been wounded since July 8) and 18 Israeli soldiers, after shelling from Israeli forces in Shejaiya east of Gaza City on July 20 killed 13 amid a Hamas response --- according to Israeli Defense Forces.
Two Israeli civilians have also died in mortar and rocket attacks, while dozens of soldiers have been wounded since the start of the ground operation, according to Israeli hospitals.
The Sunday shelling left at least 87 dead (67 in one area), including women and children.
The increased Israeli troops presence was sent into Gaza to "establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security," said the IDF, NBC reported.
Gomez captioned her "It's About Humanity. Pray For Gaza" Instagram post, with:
"Please pray for those families and babies today. Please always remember what's important in life."
"It's not any of this," she continued, referring to the glamour of the premiere. "We are here to help, inspire and love. Be that change."
Gomez concluded: "'#wearethenextgeneration."
Selena's "It's About Humanity: Pray For Gaza" Instagram statement has since attracted over 533,000 "Likes," with polarized comments filling her feed.
One such poster, identified as rif_volf1 raged:
"In that moment you just lost your millions Israeli fans, enjoy, and please don't come to Israel b***h you don't even know how much we suffer go f**k yourself."
A similarly angry commenter, asaf123, slammed: "Die in hell you stupid b***h."
Another, Maya Weinstock, blistered: "F**K You Gaza!"
Yet another, lirazgolan1 railed:"I don't know how Justin Bieber love you, Justin need to hate you I really do not know how not to like you you should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!"
On the other side of the fence, user henrix praised the Latina, writing: "Love you girl, Bravo. Its good to see you support innocent people of Gaza."
Likewise, sebnemgul13 noted: "I [am] proud of you Selena."
Poster Sakina Choudry added: "Well said Selena. its not humanity what's going on!"
Thousands have left their views at the posts and continue to. Gomez has most likely read (or is reading) the range of comments and may even have expected it.
Five hours after her original post, the Spring Breakers star clarified with another Instagram that has been so far been "Liked" over 575,000 times.
The photo shows an atmospheric picture of a woman sitting on water in a Yoga "Lotus" pose, which signifies peace in that tradition.
Gomez captioned it: "And of course to be clear, I am not picking any sides. I am praying for peace and humanity for all!"
Many comments at her later post were sharply opposed.
User Alexandra obeng stormed: "@selenagomez you stupid whore. Please burn in hell with cancer and with your whole family I wish you to suffer. I hope Israel wins and Palestine burns."
Another, thisissumayya, praised: "This is the kind of controversy that matters Selena, don't shy away from that."
They added: "This is so much more meaningful than who you dated last week or what you wore. Thank you."
TMZ, who appear to have either missed the starlet's clarification or are stoking the flames, reduced the starlet's words to the header: "Selena Gomez: Pro-Humanity or Pro Hamas in Gaza Conflict? We Don't Know... Does She?"
But, then, TMZ is accurately reflecting the views of the many who are unable, or unwilling, to step out of an adversarial take on the political, economic, idealogical and social state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Selena Gomez: Former Disney princess, often mistakenly portrayed as just an extension of on-again, off-again boyfriend Justin Bieber and someone on the brink of an emotional crisis, seems to have found her voice after the demise of their recent reunion.
As a young UNICEF ambassador, with an enormous reach to girls and others all around the world, Gomez is to be applauded for rallying its attention on "peace and humanity for all" and sharing her opinion.
Something she has an inherent and constitutional right to express.
What are your views on Gomez's posts? Did your opinion change after her clarification or was it obvious to you that she is not "picking any sides." Let us know in comments below.
(Photo via Instagram: Gomez at her Rudderless premiere, and below, having fun before.)