BEIRUT: In the latest celebrity to break the mold and come out in support of Gaza, British boy band One Direction’s Zayn Malik has become another high profile figure to join the war between Israel and Palestine on social media, tweeting #FreePalestine.
Malik, unlike pop star Rihanna – who swiftly deleted her tweet and replaced it with a less controversial prayer for peace – appears to not be backing down.
The pro-Palestinian tweet has been up on his feed for over 24 hours now, and retweeted and favorited over 200 thousand times by some of Malik’s 13 million followers.
Reaction to the tweet has been vocal and at times filled with vitriol, with some users tweeting angry messages to the young star that included several death threats.
Other responses from fans have been more personal, with one user (@KayanAlSarraj) tweeting, “@zaynmalik thank you for this, am from gaza Palestine and we could use all the support available, plz pray for us.”
On the other side of the spectrum some fans expressed their heartbreak with the singer’s position, with another user (@stav_benshushan) tweeting “@zaynmalik It broke me that one of my idols wants me to die PLEASE, Delete the Tweet! #ZaynYouHaveFansInIsrael.”
Malik’s tweet is part of a growing trend of celebrities shouldering the now expected criticism to express their opinion on the Israeli offensive on Gaza that by it's fourth week had killed over 1,100 Palestinians and saw scenes of devastation transmitted across the globe.
While some celebrities, like Rihanna, have seemingly revisited their comments in the wake of the deluge of angry comments, others like Malik seem to be standing by them. Notably among them was the actor/director Rob Schneider who tweeted “To not be outraged at the killing of children is to risk your very soul. #Gaza.”