Lana Del Rey cancels Israeli music festival performance after backlash

'It's important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally'

Tom Embury-Dennis
Saturday 01 September 2018 14:53 BST
Del Rey's concert in Russia certainly didn't represent an endorsement of authorities’ military aggression in Syria or the annexation of Crimea
Del Rey's concert in Russia certainly didn't represent an endorsement of authorities’ military aggression in Syria or the annexation of Crimea

Lana Del Rey has cancelled her planned performance at an Israeli music festival.

On Friday evening, the singer said on Twitter she was delaying "until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans".

"It's important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally," she wrote. "Unfortunately it hasn't been possible to line up both visits with such short notice and therefore I'm postponing my appearance."

It comes after pressure from Palestinian boycott activists, though it was not clear whether it was a direct response to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Del Rey initially stood by her decision to headline at next week's inaugural Meteor Festival in northern Israel.

“We signed onto the show [with] the intention that it would be performed for the kids there and my plan was for it to be done with a loving energy [with] a thematic emphasis on peace,” she said in a statement last month. “If you don’t agree with it I get it. I see both sides.”

Rock star Roger Waters says Radiohead should not be playing in Israel due to the BDS movement

However, her reversal marks a setback for Israel, which aims to prevent politics from infiltrating the arts.

BDS urges businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel. It says it is a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian cause. But Israel says it masks a more far-reaching aim to delegitimise or destroy the Jewish state.

There is a long history of artists either cancelling performances in Israel or publicly joining the cultural boycott. In 2015, a group of 700 artists – including Brian Eno, Riz Ahmed, and Ken Loach – vowed not to play music, accept awards, or attend events in the country until the “colonial oppression of Palestinians” comes to an end.

However, a significant number of artists continue to play Israel, with Madonna choosing Tel Aviv to kick off The MDNA Tour in 2012.

Meanwhile, Radiohead played the city last year, with frontman Thom Yorke responding to an open letter penned to him by Ken Loach, asking him to reconsider, stating: "Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing its government".

Meteor Festival takes place in Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, Israel on 6-8 September.

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