JERUSALEM — Celebrity couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are reportedly headed back to Israel.
They plan to have their second child baptized at an Armenian church in Occupied Palestinian Territory that Palestinian Christians are barred from entering. The journey comes amid a wave of upcoming visits by Hollywood celebrities to Israel, thanks to a state-sponsored trip offered to some Oscar nominees.
Suzee Skwiot, writing on Dec. 19 for InTouch Weekly, called the rumored trip by Kardashian and West a budding “family tradition,” as the famous foursome prepare to return to the Cathedral of St. James in Jerusalem:
“Just like big sister North West, Saint West will be baptized in Israel, according to a new report. Kim Kardashian, husband Kanye West, and their two kids are rumored to be making the trip in early 2016 and are gearing up for the special moment.
‘She wants to take Saint to Jerusalem to get baptized like they did with Nori,’ a source tells to Us Weekly.”
The pair were criticized on their baptismal trip last year for opposing the Armenian genocide while ignoring the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.
Since 1948, Israel has expelled 90 percent of Palestinians from their land. In 2014 alone, Israel killed 2,000 civilians and left 150,000 homeless in Gaza during the brutal assault known as “Operation Protective Edge.” An ongoing blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt leaves the displaced Palestinian population starving and struggling to recover their vital infrastructure.
Although Armenians found shelter in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iran during the 1915 massacre, Kardashian and West seem ignorant of the ironies of their visits to a shrine that most Palestinian Christians can no longer reach:
Kim & Kanye travel 2 Jerusalem 2 have daughter baptized at holy site Palestinian Christians can't access bc apartheid http://t.co/pxbS6Cb33k
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) April 13, 2015
Palestinian Christians are routinely barred from reaching holy sites and churches in Occupied Jerusalem. In December 2014, Israeli forces violently dispersed a peaceful protest over Christmas travel restrictions, and the government has been accused of deliberately attempting to foster tensions between Palestinian Christians and Muslims.
BDS founder urges Oscar hopefuls to boycott ‘swag bag’ trips to Israel
The Kardashians are among many celebrities planning the visit to Israel in upcoming days, thanks to a free, government-sponsored trip found in some Academy Awards “swag bags” — glamorous giveaways offered to top nominees each year.
This year’s bag also includes a year of free Audi car rentals and private fitness sessions, among other luxurious gifts designed to generate publicity for the companies (or countries) that sponsor them, according to a Feb. 10 report from Haaretz and The Associated Press.
“Their visit will have enormous resonance among millions of fans,” Yariv Levin, Israel’s tourism minister, reported.
The 2015 Sony Hack, in which millions of corporate emails were leaked and eventually published by WikiLeaks, revealed Hollywood’s efforts to repair Israel’s image in the wake of repeated war crimes and ongoing human rights abuses, and wealthy American ZIonists have poured millions into opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Now the BDS movement is targeting Oscar hopefuls, asking them to turn down the sightseeing tour, according to AP and Haaretz:
“The offer of a free 10-day trip to Israel, valued at $55,000, in the swag-bag provided to select Oscar nominees has raised the ire of the international boycott movement, which on Wednesday called on the actors and actresses to decline the offer.
The trip to Israel, underwritten by the Israeli government, is just one of numerous goodies provided to the nominees. …
Twenty-six film stars, among them Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, are eligible for the luxury vacation.”
Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said the free trip shows international pressure is beginning to have a real effect:
“Israel is desperately trying to fight its increasing international isolation through bribes and intimidation rather than by ending its occupation and apartheid. … There are no Hunger Games in Gaza but there is real hunger.”
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