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Lorde cancels Israel concert after pro-Palestinian campaign

New Zealand singer cites an overwhelming number of messages and letters she received as having led to her decision

The New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde has cancelled a schemed concert in Israel following an online campaign by activists opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The announcement of the cancellation of the June concert, scarcely a few weeks after it was announced, came as the vocalist cited an” overwhelming number of messages and letters” she had received as having led to her decision.

Israel’s culture minister, Miri Regev, called on Lorde to reconsider and she was was condemned by pro-Israel advocates on social media.

She follows a number of other artists who have cancelled performances in Israel including Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill and Gorillaz. Radiohead resisted high-profile campaign asking them to cancel a gig in Israel last summer.

Lorde, 21, whose most recent album Melodrama was liberated this year, had engaged with critics on social media following her bulletin of the tour date, announcing on Twitter that she had been taking advice on the complexities of the political situation and was ” holding all options “.

Among those who had contacted her were fellow New Zealanders Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs who wrote an open letter to the vocalist online asking her to cancel her Israel concert.

” Dear Lorde … we’re two young lady based in Aotearoa, one Jewish, one Palestinian ,” the women wrote.

” Today, millions of people stand reject the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid. As part of this struggle, we believe that an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott is an effective way of speaking out against these felonies. This worked very effectively against apartheid in South africans, and we hope it can work again .”

” We can play an important role in challenging injustice today. We urge you to act in the spirit of progressive New Zealanders who came before you and continue their legacy .”

In reply Lorde had said she was considering cancelling.

” Been speaking w many people about this and holding all options. Thank u for training me now i discovering all the time too ,” she wrote. On Sunday she announced she had decided not to go ahead with the concert.

In a statement, released by the Israeli public relations firm that had been handling the schemed June performance in Tel Aviv, the vocalist said she had not” induced the right call” in initially deciding to play in Israel.

” I have had a lot of talks with people holding many views, and I belief the right decision at this time is to cancel the show ,” Lorde wrote, adding:” I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t attain the right call on this one .”

Eran Arielli of Naranjah, one of the promoters who said devotees would be reimbursed, wrote on Facebook following the cancellation that he was ” naive to think that an artist of her age would be able to face the pressure of appearing in Israel “.

News of Lorde’s cancellation quickly inspired the intervention of Regev, Israel’s controversial rightwing culture minister.

” Lorde, I’m hoping you can be a’ pure heroine’ like the title of your first album ,” Regev said in a statement.” To be a heroine of pure culture, free from any foreign- and ridiculous- political considerations .”

In the aftermath of her decision the singer garnered both kudo and criticism on social media with the pro-Israel hall organisation StandWithUs accusing Lorde of penalizing Israel.

StandWithUs (@ StandWithUs)

What a letdown. Music should be enjoyed by all peoples, instead @lorde has encouraged a cultural forbid of music on Israel. Lorde, do you really belief penalizing the person or persons of #Israel is the right thing to do? How disgraceful. https :// t.co/ 5Km0FXpnXF

December 24, 2017

She was also denounced as a “bigot” by the actor Roseanne Barr.

Roseanne Barr (@ therealroseanne)

Boycott this bigot: Lorde caves to BDS pressure, cancels Israel concert https :// t.co/ eugOCJPRBu

December 24, 2017

Others praised her decision and the calm behavior she involved with the issue.

Dimi Reider (@ reider)

BREAKING: @Lorde called off her TLV gig. Remarkable not coz she’s most high-profile artists to do so recently, but likewise for soothe, humble& dignified exchange she had w stakeholders in the conflict. If simply all exchanges on BDS had that much mutual respect. https :// t.co/ x9U4sRGY49

December 24, 2017

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ music/ 2017/ dec/ 25/ lorde-cancels-israel-concert-after-pro-palestinian-campaign

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