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Shakira's Supposed Anti-Israeli Slur

By David Emery

Netlore Archive: Did Colombian singer Shakira say "I'd rather have pigs listen to my music than Israelis" on MTV? Does she harbor anti-Semitic sentiments?

Description: Email hoax
Circulating since: May 2002
Status: False (see details below)

Example:
Email text contributed by Budd M., May 7, 2002:

Shakira performing at a live event
Scott Gries/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Subject: Shakira

This week the singer Shakira appeared on MTV in front of a live audience and talked to fans who called the studio.

When an Israelie fan was put on the air, the singer refused to speak to her saying she'd "rather have PIGS listening to her music than Israelies!"

I think it is a disgrace that a person like her is given a platform to express her incredibly outrageous views and that a network as big and as influential as MTV did not condemn her expression.

This is a singer who is rated no.1 in the world and in Israel with her smash hit "whenever, wherever". We can not turn a blind eye to these sayings anymore!

I ask you all, please send this e-mail to all your mailing lists to help spread the word on this terrible saying and to boycott the singer's CDs.


Analysis: Here we are asked to believe not only that a world-famous singer promoting her new CD on television uttered an outrageous slur against an entire people, but also that the TV network aired it intact, without qualms or comment.

It's an obvious hoax, and a slanderous one at that. For the benefit of those who lack the common sense to recognize it as such, I contacted an MTV spokesman who told me without equivocation that the story is false. The incident never happened.

Likewise, Shakira's management labeled the accusation "baseless and wild" in a statement to the Anti-Defamation League. "Anyone who knows Shakira, heard her speak or read her interviews, knows how absurd it is to suggest that she would make any statement that would foster ill will between people of different cultures, countries or faiths," wrote Freddy DeMann of the DeMann Entertainment Company."This is entirely contrary to her personal beliefs."

Though her nationality is Colombian, Shakira's father was a Lebanese immigrant and her name is Arabic (meaning "woman full of grace") — a fact the anonymous author of this 2002 hoax clearly found ripe for exploitation in a climate of heightened tension between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. But there is no record of Shakira making anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli remarks prior to this, nor any evidence that she has ever held such views.

Shakira spoke of her feelings about the rumor nine years later during an interview with the New York Times on the occasion, ironically, of her 2011 visit there. It made me really, really sad to hear that someone could say that about me, she said. Appearing on behalf of her philanthropic organization dedicated to helping impoverished children, the Barefoot Foundation, Shakira described Israel as "the city of cities, the cradle of civilization."

Sources and further reading:

Shakira Did Not Make Anti-Jewish Statement
Anti-Defamation League, 2002

Shakira Makes a Star Turn at an Israeli Conference
New York Times, 21 June 2011

The Making of a Rocker
From Time.com

Last updated: 06/28/15

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