Israel’s inaugural Meteor Festival is set to debut next month, and the announcement that Lana Del Rey has joined the lineup has brought the singer no shortage of backlash. Yesterday, Del Rey took to Twitter to defend her booking, asserting that her decision to play the country “is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics.”
Update – August 31st: Del Rey has postponed the concert “until she can both in both Palestine and Israel.”
Of late, a number of artists have boycotted the Israel over the country’s ongoing conflict with Palestine. “What I can tell you is I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together,” Del Rey wrote. “We signed on to the show w the intention that it would be performed for the kids there and my plan was for it to be done w a loving energy w a thematic emphasis on peace. If you don’t agree with it I get it. I see both sides.”
Later, Del Rey said that playing a show in California doesn’t mean she supports the actions of President Donald Trump, though was quick to add that she’s not “likening the gravity of certain travesties that have occurred in Israel to the current hardships we’re facing here.”
Several critics of Del Rey’s response have asserted that, in situations such as these, a person of her influence has an obligation to take a political stance. Similarly, the PACBI—the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel—issued a statement in response to Del Ray’s tweets. “We urge you to reconsider,” they wrote. “We doubt that you would have played in apartheid South Africa; likewise, artists refuse to play in apartheid Israel. Please respect our nonviolent picket line, and cancel your Meteor performance.”
Del Rey, meanwhile, has reasserted that she doesn’t “have a political opinion” but that that’s “not going to stop me from sharing my political/personal passion for peace wherever I go.”
Meteor Festival is set to unfold in in Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, Israel on September 6th through 8th. Other artists set to perform include Pusha-T, Flying Lotus, Soulwax, Kamasi Washington, of Montreal, and Ariel Pink, among others.
Supporters of the BDS Movement to boycott Israel include musicians Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Thurston Moore, and Kathleen Hanna, actors Mark Ruffalo and John Cusack, and writers Angela Davis and David Edgar. Last year, Lorde bowed to pressure and canceled a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, while Nick Cave went through with his gig to “make a principled stand against anyone who wants to censor and silence musicians.” Radiohead, too, resisted calls to cancel their show in Tel Aviv last summer.