Music

Singer Lorde cancels Israel event after backlash

Organisers confirm New Zealand singer will not perform in Tel Aviv in June as planned after outcry from BDS activists.

Lorde had been scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv in June [Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images]

Singer Lorde has cancelled a planned performance in the Israeli capital, Tel Aviv, following backlash from supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Organisers told the Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the artist would outline her reasons "shortly" on Twitter.

"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," said Lorde in an emailed statement to the newspaper. 

Last week, the New Zealander responded to an open letter by two BDS activists calling on her to cancel the event, saying she was "considering all options".

In the widely shared letter, New Zealand-based activists Justine Sachs, who is Jewish, and Palestinan Nadia Abu-Shanab, told Lorde: "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.

"Israel might seem like a world away from New Zealand but that shouldn’t stop us from speaking out and being on the right side of history."

'Right side of history'

The BDS movement is a non-violent campaign that advocates cutting off commericial and cultural ties with Israeli institutions over the country's occupation of Palestinian land, and other abuses.

Activists have previously targeted singers scheduled to perform in Israel with varied results.

Some artists, such as the British band Radiohead and Australian musician Nick Cave, rejected calls not to perform in Israel, while others including US rapper Lauryn Hill have pulled out of scheduled events.

Lorde's decision was welcomed by pro-Palestinian activists, who saw it as a win for the BDS movement.

"Thank you (Lorde). You're on the right side of history!" wrote Rebecca Vilkomersom, the executive director of Jewish Voices for Peace, on Twitter.

Palestinian-American activist Yousef Munayyer said: "Thank you for taking this principled stance (Lorde).

"History will record that when you had to chose between hearing the oppressed and whitewashing oppression you made the right choice! "

But Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev said she hoped Lorde "reneges on her decision".

"Lorde, I expect you to be a pure heroine, like the title of your first album: a pure cultural heroine that's free of alien political considerations," she said, according to Ynet News.

Source: Al Jazeera News