100 artists sign letter in support of Lorde's Israel boycott
ANGELA WEISS (AFP)
Over 100 artists signed a letter entitled "Lorde’s artistic right to cancel gig in Tel Aviv", after the young New Zealand pop artist decided to cancel her Israel visit this summer amid pressure from Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists to cancel her Israel show this summer.
The support from many of the 'usual suspects'--Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, musician-producer Brian Eno, actors John Cusack and Mark Ruffalo, to name a few--explicitly addressed the full page taken out by rabbi Shmuley Boteach's This World: The Values Networks, published in the Washington Post calling Lorde a 'bigot' and hypocrite for ignoring global humanitarian disasters while calling for a boycott of Israel.
"Shmuley Boteach, the author and promoter of the advert, supports Israel’s illegal settlements...has nothing to teach artists about human rights. We deplore the bullying tactics being used to defend injustice against Palestinians and to suppress an artist’s freedom of conscience. We support Lorde’s right to take a stand," read the letter posted on The Guardian.
The Washington Post add superimposed the kiwi singer's picture over a scene of death and destruction from the ongoing civil war in Syria and reads "21 is young to become a bigot."
The letter also implicated Trump's Jerusalem declaration and Breitbart, the right-wing media outlet run by former Trump chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who also has been in the news following the publication of Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", which details Bannon's rebuke of the Trump administration.
Israel's Culture Minister Miri Regev last week urged Grammy award-winning pop star Lorde to re-consider her cancellation of the upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, a decision announced earlier in the day after the artist came under pressure from BDS movement proponents.
"I hope that Lorde reconsiders her decision not to play in Israel," Regev said in a statement hours after the 21-year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter announced she would be cancelling her June 5, 2018 gig in Tel Aviv and refunding ticket holders.
"Lorde, I expect you to be a ‘pure heroine’ like the title of your first album," Regev continued. "A pure heroine of culture, void of any foreign political considerations, not to mention delusional ones."
Ahead of the new year, Lorde received an open joint letter from a Palestinian woman and a Jewish woman based in Aotearoa in her native New Zealand urging her to cancel the Tel Aviv gig.
Lorde responded on twitter to fans, explaining that she would get informed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before coming to any decisions regarding the upcoming show.
Concert promoter Naranjah confirmed the cancellation on Sunday, posting a message from Lorde in which she said she had “done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions” before booking the gig, but was “not too proud to admit” that she “didn’t make the right call on this one.”
“I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said.
She added that it was “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,” adding, “I hope one day we can all dance.”
In their open letter, the two women explained their efforts to put pressure on Israel by taking part in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for the boycott of Israeli products and economic participation with Israel.
“Today, millions of people stand opposed to 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 crimes. This worked very effectively against apartheid in South Africa, and we hope it can work again,” the two wrote in a letter.
Lorde has faced mixed reactions since announcing her tour schedule, with some fans responding that political issues should not get in way of music and art.
The Pink Floyd legend, Roger Waters, has become a sort of mascot for the BDS movement and continues to put intense pressure on musicians to avoid performing in the country, invoking human rights as his rationale for snubbing the Israeli music scene.
Nonetheless, artists such as Radiohead and Nick Cave, have fought back, criticizing 'Roger Waters and Co' for their 'divisive' activity.
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