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Lorde considers canceling upcoming Israel concert in face of fan backlash

on December 22, 2017, 1:55pm

Photo by Philip Cosores

Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, and more have called for a cultural boycott of Israel until Palestinians are granted greater equality under Israeli law. The artist group caused plenty of controversy this past year as they (unsuccessfully) tried to persuade the likes of Radiohead and Nick Cave to cancel scheduled shows in the country. Now, pop star Lorde is facing a similar blowback that is causing her to reconsider an upcoming concert in Tel Aviv.

It began when activists Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab penned an open letter to Lorde in the New Zealand publication The Spinoff.  “[A] performance in Israel sends the wrong message,” they wrote. “Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation. Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music.”

Lorde responded to Sachs and Abu-Shanab on Twitter. “Noted! Been speaking w many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too,” Lorde tweeted.

PACBI, a founding member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition, offered up their own response. “Lorde’s performance in Tel Aviv would allow Israel to use her name for art-washing its brutal siege of Gaza, forced displacement of Palestinian communities in Jerusalem, and relentless construction of illegal settlements and walls in the occupied Palestinian territory,” the group said.

They continued, “Given Lorde’s progressive politics, intersectional feminism and outspoken opposition to Trump’s xenophobic policies, Palestinians and people of conscience around the world hope she will take the moral path of cancelling her Tel Aviv gig.”

Read their full statement below:

“PACBI thanks Lorde for listening to her fans and giving consideration to the calls on her to cancel her show in Tel Aviv.

As with the international cultural boycott against apartheid South Africa, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society has called for no-business-as-usual with Israel until our human rights under international law are no longer denied by Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid.

Lorde’s performance in Tel Aviv would allow Israel to use her name for art-washing its brutal siege of Gaza, forced displacement of Palestinian communities in Jerusalem, and relentless construction of illegal settlements and walls in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Given Lorde’s progressive politics, intersectional feminism and outspoken opposition to Trump’s xenophobic policies, Palestinians and people of conscience around the world hope she will take the moral path of cancelling her Tel Aviv gig.”

Lorde’s Israel show is currently set for June 5th, 2018. Prior to that, she’ll play two gigs in Russia on May 29th and May 31st.

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