Backstreet Boys confuse Israel-Gaza with MH17

AJ McLean was discussing the string of cancelled dates in Israel following the breaking of the ceasefire when he made the blunder

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The Independent Online

To be fair to them, the Backstreet Boys aren’t known for their astute awareness of foreign politics and current affairs.

More for churning out pop hits like “I Want It That Way” and dating Paris Hilton.

But on discussing the recent violence in Israel and Gaza, which saw them cancel a string of live dates in the Middle East, there appeared to be some confusion.

Accosted by one TMZ journalist in Malibu yesterday (29 July), on the day the band would have been taking to the Raanana Amphitheater in Tel Aviv, member AJ McLean started his impromptu interview on the crisis with a fairly diplomatic, balanced set of answers.

"We’ve got the most loyal fans down there, who have been waiting for years for us to come," he said, when asked if he was disappointed that the dates had been rescheduled. "It’s a horrible thing going on down there and we’re praying for both sides. You can’t pick a side."


Asked whether their decision was a political one or a matter of caution, he said:

"Safety, and all of us have families. Now, you can’t even fly there. If they had kept the ceasefire, we may have still gone, but you just don’t know and it’s not really worth running that risk. But it sucks for all of our fans down there, but we will definitely be coming back next year."

Failing his attempt to escape further questioning, he was then asked how he would solve the conflict.

"It’s so hard to rethink. It’s a really unfortunate circumstance," he said.

Then came the blunder. AJ appeared to suggest that the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which had been shot down over the Ukraine-Russia border killing 298, had something to do with the Israeli government’s aggression in Gaza.

AJ McLean performing with his fellow Backstreet band members recently

"Women and children are dying and planes are being shot out of the sky," he said. "Violence doesn’t help anything. But hopefully they can come to an agreement and see eye-to-eye.

"I’m just hoping that it ends sooner than later, before anyone else has to die," he concluded.

The boyband were just nine days away from taking to the stage in Israel when they made the decision to cancel their first ever set of dates in the country.

"We are very sorry to inform you that the BSB concerts planned for July 29-30-31 at the Raanana Amphitheater have been postponed," a statement published on the band’s official site read.

"This is a major disappointment for the band and fans as this was to be our first visit to Israel and we looked forward to meeting our fans.

"We're already working with the producers on new dates during Spring 2015 and will notify everyone about this as soon as possible."