One Direction Weighs In On... Gaza

Throughout the past weeks of near-constant attacks in Gaza, writers, experts, and key players in the conflict have weighed in on the escalating violence. Nobody seems to be able to forge a bridge between the two camps, fueling an insurmountably polarized debate. So who seems like a natural voice to add to a pressing geopolitical issue in Israel and Palestine? Why not One Direction!Yes, that One Direction.

Two members of the seemingly omnipresent boy band have taken opposite stances. Harry Styles, who is not actually Jewish but kind of vaguely hinted that he might be, was criticized for waving a giant inflatable hammer printed with what looks like an Israeli flag at a concert in Barcelona. It is unclear if the hammer was his or if it belonged to a fan, who he asked to hand it to him. Also unclear is why he was waving an inflatable hammer at all. Then, last week, Styles followed writer Lliana Bird, who penned "Why I'm Pro-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian" for the Huffington Post. His fans took this as another declaration of pro-Israel support.

Zayn Malik was not as subtle with his support, tweeting #FreePalestine to his 13 million followers on Sunday. As of this writing, the tweet has received over 240,000 retweets and just as many favorites. Malik, who was raised as a Muslim in England, was inundated with tweeted death threats after the post.

Harry Styles wielding what might be a hammer with an Israeli flag on it.

Niall, Liam, and Louis have (thankfully) not taken sides.

The 1Ders are only the latest celebrities to take a public stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most infamously, Rihanna tweeted #FreePalestine, only to delete in minutes later and replace it with a neutered proclamation:

As the death tolls grow higher, it seems increasingly inappropriate for celebrities to be weighing in on an issue that causes a lot of personal harm on each side. Inevitably, and I'll turn to '80s rap priestesses Salt 'N' Pepa to tell it to you straight: "Opinions are like assholes/Everybody's got one." But unless they've had some long-term, sustained interest in this intricate issue, it seems inappropriate to use their platforms for commentary.Or maybe everyone who has declared public support is studied on the issues. But I highly doubt it. And if they are, let's please throw Rihanna, Joan Rivers, two-fifths of One Direction, and Selena Gomez in a room so they can duke it out. Please.