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Lorde pulls out of Israel tour date after BDS pressure

New Zealander had announced a concert in Israel for next June, but has since changed her mind - after coming under huge pressure

    Lorde
    Lorde (Krists Luhaers via Wikimedia Commons)

    Lorde, the singer-songwriter, has disappointed thousands of Israeli fans by pulling out of a concert in Tel Aviv.

    The New Zealander was deluged by calls to pull out of the concert – due to take place next June – after announcing that she would be playing two dates in Russia and one in Israel. There has been no similar decision to pull out of the one in Russia.

    The 21-year-old explained her “right decision” in a statement, which did not mention the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions( movement, although those involved claimed the cancellation as a victory. The singer joins others including Roger Waters, Elvis Costello and Lauryn Hill in being part of a cultural boycott of Israel.

    "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," she wrote, adding: "Tel Aviv, it's been a dream of mine to visit this beautiful part of the world for many years, and I'm truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you. I hope one day we can all dance." 

    A New Zealand website The Spinoff, printed an open letter to Lorde on December 20, written by two activists, one Jewish (who described herself as “against the occupation of Palestine”) and one Palestinian. 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.” 

    Lorde referenced this in a tweet to her seven million followers, writing: "Noted! Been speaking w many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too."

    The Spinoff has since published another letter, calling on Lorde to reverse her decision.

    Miri Regev, the Israeli culture minister, called on the singer to reverse her decision. She said: "Lorde, I'm hoping you can be a 'pure heroine,' like the title of your first album, be a heroine of pure culture, free from any foreign - and ridiculous - political considerations."

    Richard Verber, senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, said Lorde's decision was "the wrong call, reeking of double standards".

    He said: “While, during this tour, she will still play Russia, despite notorious and flagrant abuses in that country’s domestic and international human rights record, she will boycott the world’s only Jewish state, which strenuously seeks to protect human rights even while defending its citizens from a decades-long onslaught of terrorism.

    “Rather than using her music to bring together Israelis and Palestinians, Lorde has caved in to the bullying of a loud lobby backed by some of the world’s worst human rights abusers. She should reflect on this and reverse her decision in due course. When she does she will receive a warm welcome and no doubt understand the situation a lot better.”

    There was also a strong reaction on social media, both for and against Lorde's decision. Roseanne Barr called for a boycott of the singer herself, while Michael Dickson, executive director of Stand With Us, made his feelings clear.

     

     

     

    Read what one British fan wrote to Lorde following the decision

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