US singer Lana Del Rey has decided to postpone an appearance in Israel, where she was due to perform at a music festival next week, in a planned concert criticised by fans and activists.
Del Ray said in a statement on Friday that she was pulling out of performing at Meteor Festival after being unable to also schedule a coinciding appearance in Palestine.
“It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such short notice.”
— Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) August 31, 2018
Her planned appearance at the three-day festival had drawn criticism from fans, who argued her presence would be used to legitimise Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Del Rey previously defended her decision to perform in Israel, saying “music is universal and should be used to bring us together”, stressing her show would not be “a political statement or a commitment to the politics there”.
Amid the criticism, she issued a statement on Instagram last week, saying that she understood “concern towards showing support to the Palestinians” and would arrange to visit Palestine while in the region.
Her decision on Friday followed a campaign by pro-Palestinian groups calling for a cultural boycott of Israel over its occupation of Palestine.
Along with the pro-Palestinian group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) had launched a petition urging Del Rey to pull out of the show, saying her performance would “cover up gross violations of human rights”.
The petition received 14,500 signatures.
The PACBI welcomed the singer’s announcement as a “principled decision”.
Thank you @LanaDelRey for your principled decision to withdraw from Israel's Meteor Festival.
Palestinians hope to hear you play when Israel's occupation and apartheid end.
We urge all participating artists in the festival to respect our nonviolent picket line. https://t.co/8T4iMunqhd
— PACBI (@PACBI) August 31, 2018
PACBI is part of the wider Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Established in 2005, BDS is a Palestinian-led international movement that calls for a boycott of Israeli goods, divestment from Israeli companies and governmental sanctions on the country in order to pressure the Israeli state to prevent human rights abuses against Palestinians.
The movement has been cited as a national security threat by the Israeli government.
In January, Israel published a list of BDS-supporting organisations whose members would be banned from entering the country.
We're proud to support @PACBI and stand with BDS activists worldwide in thanking @LanaDelRey for choosing equality over apartheid – and canceling her performance at the Meteor Festival in Israel. We invite others to cancel as well. Choose Freedom. #BDS Yes. @BDSmovement pic.twitter.com/fmdcsP8h2R
— Jewish Voice for Peace (@jvplive) August 31, 2018
Responding to Del Rey’s cancellation, the festival organisers said: “We do appreciate her for choosing Meteor to help her score some press attention.”
In 2014, Del Rey – whose real name is Elizabeth Grant – also cancelled a performance scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv due to the war in Gaza.
In December 2017, New Zealand singer Lorde cancelled a performance in Israel after sustained pressure from pro-Palestinian activists and fans.