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Lorde didn’t bow to pressure, she rose to the occasion

on 19 Comments

Since Lorde’s announcement that she had cancelled the Tel Aviv leg of her world tour, she has been called a bigot, immature, naïve, and despite her hitherto well-known political stances on justice issues from LGBTQ to indigenous rights, is now being portrayed in sexist and ageist terms as a helpless young fool.  Miri Regev, Israel’s Culture Minister, asked Lorde to reconsider, even as Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand invited her to a meeting, so as to educate her about the situation in Israel. “By succumbing to the hateful agenda of the few who support #BDS you encourage animosity in the region,” the ambassador wrote Lorde, guilting her with heavy-handed clichés:  “only democracy in the Middle East,” “music should unite not divide,” and of course, BDS being motivated by hatred, rather than an impulse towards justice.

The Jerusalem Post is publishing editorial after editorial about the cancellation, some by the Editorial Board itself, others by guest writers, all extremely patronizing to Lorde, and rehashing the offensive old stereotype of Palestinians as hijackers, as it describes her as “having been taken captive” by BDS “bullies.”   “Lorde and the BDS bullies,” describes her as the “perfect candidate to be taken captive by the BDS movement.”

“For the young Lorde, who is clueless about Zionism and knows nothing about Israel’s long history of struggle with a violent, intolerant and antisemitic Arab national movement, it is no political statement to appear in Tel Aviv before a crowd of globalized Israeli youths,” that editorial continues, before concluding: “Lorde is supposed to play music. Unfortunately, this time she let herself be played.”

Another editorial states “Lorde Caves to BDS Pressure.”  And a third asks “Who needs Lorde,” as it reminds readers that other big names continue to perform in Israel.

But Lorde did not cancel her Tel Aviv concert after BDS “pressure.” Pressure, like racism and sexism, requires power.  The capacity to impose a penalty, if you want.  Or at least some tangible consequences. When she announced the cancellation, Lorde explained that she had received communication from pro- and anti-BDS activists, and made up her own mind.  “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 of her decision. “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 did not cave in to pressure. Just the opposite, she rose to the occasion.  As she put it herself, “it was the right decision.”

Yes, BDS activists do reach out to artists who announce performances in Israel.  We use all of our resources to educate them about the situation, and the context of the call for cultural boycott. But those “resources” do not go beyond volunteers on social media.  We also never threaten anyone, even though most of us have folders of hate mail, sent by Zionists.  (Most recently, Justine Sachs, the Jewish New Zealander who co-wrote the Open Letter to Lorde asking her not to perform in Israel, has cancelled her social media accounts after receiving threatening emails, including ones that state they know where she lives, and hoping ISIS will find and rape her).

Israel, on the other hand, has an entire arsenal behind it: millions of dollars invested in Brand Israel campaigns, anti-BDS “commando units,” as well as the significant financial gain from the performance itself. The Israeli government has just pushed through yet one more anti-BDS program, funding it to the tune of 260 million NIS (close to 75 million US dollars) specifically designed to flood artists considering an Israel performance with emails.  Comparing the new program to a “PR Commando Unit,” the government spokesperson said “ ‘Imagine Lorde was hit with a viral campaign the same day she announced her show’s cancellation.”

As to consequences, artists who perform in Israel reap millions, between the performance itself and the merchandise at the venue, and have very little, if anything at all, to lose.  On the other hand, those who cancel suffer severe consequences.  Five German state-affiliated television stations and their radio affiliates announced that they will not broadcast Roger Waters’ concerts, because he is a long-term outspoken supporter of BDS and Palestinian rights.  And a night club that had previously hosted four performances by Talib Kweli recently cancelled his 2018 show, after they found out he had spoken for Palestinian rights.

There are no incentives and no rewards, for cancelling concerts in Israel.  Those artists who do it are aware of the consequences: immense gratitude from Palestinian rights activists, and overwhelming opprobrium from the powerful Zionists.  Like Lorde, they are making the right decision.  And, when we finally celebrate the abolition of apartheid in the twenty-first century, they will be proud to say they were on the right side of history.

Nada Elia

Nada Elia is a Palestinian scholar-activist, writer, and grassroots organizer, currently completing a book on Palestinian Diaspora activism.

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19 Responses

  1. US Citizen on December 30, 2017, 12:39 pm

    Ah yes, it was only a matter of time for the smears to begin. First name calling, then the holocaust, then jew hater, then anti-semite, oops, don’t forget Hamas – they always work that in somewhere – all predictable – all badges of honor for any normal person who values human rights.

    Unable to defend Israeli action based on logical arguments, international law or common sense, Israel’s supporters use other means, threats, smears and vilification, and also by fabricating non-existing controversies.

    Good for Lorde. BDS!

    • Emory Riddle on December 30, 2017, 5:06 pm

      I am pretty sure this was the work of Iran.

      • annie on December 30, 2017, 5:17 pm

        or certainly russia.

      • Emory Riddle on December 30, 2017, 5:26 pm

        No doubt Putin and Iran teamed up on this one.

  2. ritzl on December 30, 2017, 2:35 pm

    Can any of these conscientious and courageous artists play a venue in, say, Nablus?

    Would Israel make it logistically impossible, or just say “NO!”

    Would Regev’s definition of self-education include playing in Israel-occcupied Palestine?

    Non-rhetorically, might that be a counter-offer/retort to Regev-ian BS? It would sure be interesting to see what the [creative] answer might be. Maybe a drinking game could be crafted around how many times the word “security” would be used to avoid the legitimate, unanswerable questions raised by an outright “NO!”.

  3. Jasonius Maximus on December 30, 2017, 2:57 pm

    It takes strength to speak truth to power and Lorde has shown buckets of it. As well as a class and eloquence that outshines the crass of the Israeli Ambassador to NZ.

    Besides, every time there is an uproar and fallout over an artist cancelling a tour to Tel Aviv, the rogue regime an the media supporting their agenda rise to the occasion and slip up, showing us all their hand. Their fake indignation and outrage shows us EXACTLY how desperate they are to use these artists to whitewash the occupation and Apartheid policies and how willing they are to discard them afterwards once their agenda has been served.

  4. RoHa on December 30, 2017, 8:35 pm

    “Most recently, Justine Sachs, the Jewish New Zealander who co-wrote the Open Letter to Lorde asking her not to perform in Israel, has cancelled her social media accounts after receiving threatening emails, including ones that state they know where she lives, and hoping ISIS will find and rape her.”

    One cannot help being impressed by the charm and generosity of spirit shown by the defenders of Israel.

    • inbound39 on December 31, 2017, 7:47 pm

      Shows the uneducated, baseness of our Israeli Settler shock troops.

  5. JWalters on December 30, 2017, 10:35 pm

    “they will be proud to say they were on the right side of history.”

    And on the right side of justice.

    It’s striking how utterly empty are the criticisms of Lorde. They’re all name-calling and conclusions, filled with bigoted generalizations and devoid of evidence. Documenting their irrationality and lies is a great public service. No sane person who has grown up without being brainwashed in Zionist fantasies and lies, and who learns the simple facts, could possibly have any respect for their claims.

    My thanks to Lorde, Justine Sachs, and Nada Elia for their efforts on behalf of the facts and justice.

  6. inbound39 on December 31, 2017, 8:58 pm

    Look at what the Jewish Supremacist commando’s have printed in the Washington Post.

    • Maghlawatan on December 31, 2017, 9:31 pm

      Pour encourager les autres.

      Lorde represents something very scary for Israel. Israel needs believers in every generation. The old media could guarantee that via gatekeepers . Using the wapo is a sign of this. Millennials don’t get their news from wapo. Millennials see a brutal occupier. LOLZ.

    • Maghlawatan on December 31, 2017, 9:47 pm

      Boteachs list of pro Israeli artists includes Michael Jackson. Mr Jackson is dead.

    • amigo on December 31, 2017, 9:53 pm

      This is positive.If Lorde had any doubts about her decision she now knows which side is the problem.

      Zionists , thankfully never know when to shut up.

      Had she gone to Apartheid central , the Palestinian side would have voiced their disappointment but would not have resorted to ad hominem and insults.

      • inbound39 on January 1, 2018, 6:00 am

        They are obviously rattled by her enough because they know she commands a massive fan base around the globe. To them she is a great threat.

    • Talkback on January 1, 2018, 4:29 am

      Lorde should be informed that the Golan Heights are not part of JSIL, but were illegaly annexed by it and settled and that it violates the Geneva Conventions by allowing, encouraging and supporting its citizens to move and live there.

      Then she should be informed that JSIL is aiding terrorists in Syria.

  7. JLewisDickerson on January 1, 2018, 11:28 pm

    The campaign of vitriol being waged against Lorde is beginning to remind me of the abuse heaped upon Justice Goldstone (e.g., trying to bar him from his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah) for having issued the report on Israel’s actions during Operation Cast Lead back in 2009.

    Thankfully, I believe the campaign against Lorde will dissipate fairly quickly [as opposed to the persecution of Justice Goldstone who continued to get the ‘Spinoza treatment’ until he was finally forced to fall on his own sword (speaking figuratively, not literally)]. It was an incredibly ugly campaign by right-wing Zionists against an eminently honorable man who should have instead been fêted by the Jewish and other communities.

    Lorde Chats About Her New Album, “Melodrama”

    • Maghlawatan on January 2, 2018, 1:42 am

      I imagine Lorde is not Jewish. The crap being piled on her by the bots is insane.
      She doesn’t like the Palestine situation so they turn her into the camp commandment at Auschwitz. FFS.

  8. YoniFalic on January 4, 2018, 10:45 pm

    It is important to point out how different the New Zealand model for interaction of European colonists with natives is from that of the despicable racist genocidal Zionist model of interaction of European colonists with natives.

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