Justin in Israel: What’s Coming Between Bieber and Bibi?

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Justin Bieber just singing his heart out.

There are many ways to describe Justin Bieber: teen sensation; swoon-worthy pop star; prolific Tweeter. Now there’s a new descriptor to add to the list: international scandal starter.

In Israel for a concert, the Biebs was in talks to meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (widely known as Bibi) but then the meeting was called off and (BOOM!) a full-on scandal erupted. Headlines around the world speculated why the two weren’t meeting and, apparently, the influential men have different accounts of why the meeting was canceled.

(More on TIME.com: See pictures of Justin Bieber)

Netanyahu’s people said that the prime minister was interested in meeting with the 17-year-old pop star, but then they’d suggested including Israeli children from areas recently attacked by Gaza rocket fire.  A spokesperson for Netanyahu alluded that the suggestion led to Bieber declining.

Does Bieber hate kids? Was he taking a strong political stand on the Israel/Palestine issue?

Of course not, say his spokespeople, he simply had a scheduling conflict, not a political one. “Justin welcomes the chance to meet with kids facing difficult circumstances, regardless of their background,” a spokesperson said. In fact, Bieber had already invited children from an Israeli town near the Gaza border to his concert.

(More on TIME.com: See where Bieber falls on the 140 best Twitter feeds list)

Poor Biebs! All of this diplomacy brouhaha is tearing him up. While certain celebrities have refrained from appearances in Israel for political reasons, Bieber wanted to avoid all of that. He angrily tweeted “i want to see this country and all the places ive dreamed of and whether its the paps or being pulled into politics its been frustrating“. (via Wall Street Journal)

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