I have been a fan of Lana Del Rey for years, so I could not be happier that she has officially canceled her performance at the Meteor Festival in Israel. They say you should never meet your heroes, but I think it is worse to find out your hero is going to perform for a settler-colonial apartheid state.
Lana’s major debut album “Born to Die” was the soundtrack to my senior year of high school; her picture covered my college dorm room, and in February, I finally got to see her live in Dallas. I was incredibly disappointed when I found out that she was going to perform in Israel. Disappointment turned into anger and disgust when she said her “loving energy” could help “shift the energetic vibration” between Israel and Palestine. Sorry, Lana, but that is not how apartheid works.
Palestinians living under Israel’s system of occupation face a nightmare of daily humiliations. From roads divided between Jews and Palestinians, a military court system where children are taken from their homes in the middle of the night and abused, and massacres of civilians. Israel openly institutes two sets of laws for two groups of people – the definition of apartheid.d It is also the only country in the world with a juvenile military court system. Just last month, Israel effectively declared itself an apartheid state when they passed a controversial ‘nation-state’ law that enshrines Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people,” despite the fact that one in five citizens of Israel is an indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinian.
No amount of loving energy can fix that.
Thanks to Lana’s millennial audience and the incredible power of hashtags, social media heated up quickly. People asked Lana to cancel and called out her ridiculous ‘loving’ statement. As the Social Media Director for CODEPINK: Women for Peace, I jumped on the #LanaDontGo train with an online petition asking Lana to cancel. Within days we had almost 3,000 signatures. Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel got a petition going too. Along with CODEPINK, JVP, and PACBI, even Roger Waters was part of the social campaign to move Lana to cancel her show. Today, only eleven days later, Lana announced she would not go to Israel until she could “schedule visits for both [her] Israeli and Palestinian fans.”
Not everyone agrees with Lana’s cancelation. A quick scroll through the replies on any CODEPINK tweet will prove that there is in fact a lot of dissent to Lana’s decision.
At first, even Lana did not see the need to cancel her performance even though her “views on democracy and oppression are aligned with most liberal views.” Before her cancelation, she said her show was not meant to be “political,” but that is simply impossible. When you go to Israel, buy products from Israel, or perform in Israel, you are ignoring their human rights abuses and war crimes. That is political.
— CODEPINK (@codepink) August 31, 2018
I believe all artists should join the artistic boycott of Israel. Palestinians are calling on the international community to support their struggle for freedom and equality in the same way that was effective in ending South African apartheid. In order to support the Palestinian fight for freedom and decolonization, we have to listen when they deliver a call to action.
If Lana chose to perform at the Meteor Festival, she would have been using her name and influence to whitewash Israeli crimes. As a fan, I am happy that one of my favorite artists has grown and will stand on the side of justice. As a supporter of Palestinian human rights and freedom, it has been incredible to watch Palestinians and the international community rise to action and deliver this win for the movement.
So far, ten artists have withdrawn from performing at this September’s Meteor Festival in Tel Aviv (which itself is problematic – the festival’s website recommends accommodation located in illegal Israeli settlements built in violation of international law in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.) Hopefully, now that one of the Festival’s biggest headliners has dropped out more will follow.