French ‘The Voice’ singer quits reality show over terrorism tweets

A French singer has quit the TV reality show ‘The Voice’ after her tweets about terrorism and Israel sparked a backlash.

Mennel Ibtissem was a popular contestant on the show. However, she came under pressure to leave the competition after tweets were uncovered in which she appeared to question the official narrative of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and the 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice.

“Here we go, it’s become a routine, an attack a week, and, as usual, the ‘terrorist’ takes his ID with him,” Ibtissem wrote after the Nice truck attack, Nice-Matin reported. “It’s true that when you’re plotting something nasty you never forget to take your papers with you.”

In another post, Ibtissem reportedly said: “The real terrorists are our government,” after two attackers slit a priest’s throat in Normandy. Ibtissem’s posts included support for Palestine and, during the 2014 assault on Gaza, she condemned Israel for “terrorizing innocent civilians.”

Ibstissem announced her decision to leave the show in a Facebook video in which she apologized for her comments. “I never meant to hurt anyone and the mere thought that my remarks hurt others hurts me, so I have taken the decision to quit this adventure,” she said.

She added she joined the show “with the intention of gathering people, not dividing them, of opening people’s minds, not narrow[ing] them.”

When reports emerged about her posts earlier in the week, she was called into a meeting with producers who wanted “clarifications” about her statements on Tuesday, le Parisienne reports.

Promenade des Anges: 14 July 2016, an organization supporting Nice victims, released a statement condemning her comments. “It is unacceptable to question what we have experienced. We were terrified, our own bodies were affected and/or lost our loved ones.”

The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism took issue with Ibstissem’s comments about Israel, and demanded she be removed from the show, JPost reports. “Mennel cannot serve as a role model for uninformed fans. She is not a good role model, she is not a good choice, she is dangerous,” it said. The group pointed to a song she sang in 2015 called, Smile Palestine, which references the “slaughter of mothers, fathers, little sisters and little brothers.”

Ibstissem posted an apology to her Facebook page on Tuesday before she decided to leave the show. In it, she explained: “These messages were the expression of a fear that I shared only at that time with my friends on this network. I deeply regret these messages.”

“On the evening of the Nice attacks, I had family on the Promenade des Anglais and I was shocked, upset, and did not understand why this attack could not be prevented by the authorities.”

“Two years later, I grew up and I measure the lack of reflection on these messages. I understand that these messages shock and I apologize.”

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