The uproar last month over the comments Justin Bieber left in the guest book at the Anne Frank House was “atrocious and insulting,” the international pop star’s manager Scooter Braun told The Jerusalem Post last week.
Braun, 31, whose grandparents are Holocaust survivors, made his first public comments on the incident after being informed that he was being included in the Post’s list of the 50 most influential Jews in the world, which is being published in a gala Shavuot supplement distributed with the Post on Tuesday.
Bieber, after visiting the historic museum in Amsterdam, wrote in the guest book, “Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber [the popular term used to describe Bieber’s predominantly adolescent female fans].”
After the note was made public, Bieber was roundly criticized for demeaning the legacy of the iconic Frank, who hid in the house from the Nazis for two years while keeping a diary that survived the Holocaust. Upon being discovered, Frank was deport- ed to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where in 1945 she died of typhus.
“What I saw was a kid who actually read The Diary of Anne Frank and understood that she was a huge fan of pop culture,” said Braun.
“When he went through the museum – which takes about 20 minutes to go through – he spent an hour and a half in it, and he asked a ton of questions. It was very personal for him because of how close he is to my grand- mother,” Braun continued.
“What he wrote in that book reflected his personal connection between him and Anne Frank. He wanted her to be a fan of his. And I think that the reaction to it was atrocious and insulting.”
“The fact that I haven’t commented on it,” Braun said, “is only because I’ve been so angered – being a Holocaust survivor’s grandson – that I found it disgusting that [gossip site] TMZ.com or any other rumor site decided to use the Holocaust as a way to go after him, when they weren’t even knowledgeable about it them- selves.”
Braun, an American, will be making his first appearance on the Post ’s 50 most influential Jews list. The music mogul, who brought the Canadian Bieber to Israel in 2011, is credited with beginning a backstage tradition of Bieber saying the Shema before concerts.
For the past two years, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has headed the list, but this year, a new figure has been crowned.
Will it be a power-wielding politician such as Naftali Bennett or Yair Lapid, a personality with great sway in the US, such as Jack Lew or Jon Stewart, a prominent businessman or philanthropist such as Ronald Lauder or Matthew Bronfman, a Jewish leader such as Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein or Moshe Kantor, a woman such as Anat Hoffman or Yityish Aynaw, or an environmentalist such as Yosef Abramowitz or Efi Stenzler? The full interview with Braun will appear in the Shavuot supplement, edited by Post staffers Rachel Marder and Amy Spiro. The list of most influential Jews was chosen by a committee of Post editors, in consultation with reporters and management.