The pop singer Lorde announced on Sunday that she would be canceling her June 5th performance in Tel Aviv after pressure from the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
On social media, the New Zealand singer explained that, while she had researched the issue before scheduling her performance in Tel Aviv, in the end she believed she had not made “the right call” in choosing to plan an show in Israel.
“Hey guys, so about this Israel show — I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages & letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde wrote in a statement to her fans. “I pride myself on being an informed young citizen, and I had done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions before deciding to book a show in Tel Aviv, but I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one.”
Lorde went on to say visiting Tel Aviv had “been a dream” of hers for many years, and apologized to her fans for reversing her commitment to play in the coastal city.
The BDS movement encourages the economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel due to the country’s treatment of Palestinians and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory.
By canceling the show, Lorde joined the ranks of Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Thurston Moore, Lauryn Hill and others who have also committed themselves to the BDS of Israel.
Israeli Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, said in a statement that she hoped Lorde would reverse her decision.
“Lorde, I’m hoping you can be a ‘pure heroine,’ like the title of your first album,” Regev said. “Be a heroine of pure culture, free from any foreign – and ridiculous – political considerations.”
Meanwhile, the official Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), thanked the singer for canceling the tour, “and heeding appeals from your fans against Israel’s art-washing of its brutal oppression of Palestinians.”
“Your unwavering commitment to progressive values inspires us and gives us hope,” the group said.
Since Lorde is from New Zealand, Dayenu: New Zealand Jews against the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and lives, weighed in, thanking Lorde for “a holiday miracle.”
“This is a seminal moment for BDS. Lorde’s courageous decision has reignited the conversation in the entertainment industry about the reality of Israeli occupation and the importance of human rights. We hope that her actions will inspire Lorde’s many young, progressive fans to carry on the movement and speak out against injustice.”
The group continued, pointing out that while the cultural boycott of Israel is “crucial,” it is “only the beginning.”
“We call on businesses and governments to follow Lorde’s lead by divesting from and sanctioning Israel for their violations of international law.”
The group also called on young Jewish people around the world to act.
“Advocating for BDS is never an easy task. Many of us face the threat of ostracisation from our communities and families every time we speak out. Many of us will also have family and friends in Israel. While we want them to be able to enjoy the gift of Lorde’s music with us, we insist that basic human rights must take priority. A sustainable future for both of our peoples is possible, but only with the end of the Israeli occupation,” the statement ended.
Yuval Ben-Ami, a Tel Aviv-based journalist and artist is one of Lorde’s biggest fans who has been working on a project in which he translates Lorde’s lyrics to Hebrew, all the while documenting the project in a blog on +972.
In an interview with Newsweek, Ben-Ami said he supported Lorde, despite the fact that it means he will not be able to see Lorde live in his city.
“Several other great artists have canceled, [but Lorde] appears to be the first of her generation, and that’s meaningful,” Ben-Ami told the magazine.
“I am a huge fan of Lorde, but an even bigger fan of equality,” he said. “So long as people here live without rights, hers is the right choice, and if the BDS movement is emulated in other places where human rights are a concern, that would be commendable.”