Lorde performs on the Other Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival in Britain.
(photo credit: DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS)
What does Lorde, the 21-year-old singer from New Zealand, know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Very little, which made her a perfect candidate to be taken captive by the BDS movement.
When Lorde let it be known last week on her Twitter feed that she planned to perform in Tel Aviv in June, she came under pressure to cancel by the self-appointed commissars of “correct” opinions -- BDS activists.
Bullying pop artists into conforming to the opinions of a left-wing consensus that sees itself as having a monopoly over what is acceptable to think and believe is a tactic that is not unique to the BDS movement.
In the US, singer Taylor Swift has been denigrated for failing to fall into lock step with the “correct” form of feminism that views abortion as a right that must be financed by employers and views US President Donald Trump, but not Bill Clinton, as a crude sexual predator.
For the young Lorde, who is clueless about Zionism and knows nothing about Israel’s long history of struggle with a violent, intolerant and antisemitic Arab national movement, it is no political statement to appear in Tel Aviv before a crowd of globalized Israeli youths. It is an economic statement.
What draws Lorde to Israel is the relatively high amount of expendable income available to the parents of Israeli teenagers living in the greater Tel Aviv area.
Lorde is in a blissful state of unawareness, at least with regard to the history and reasons behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her concerns, judging from the lyrics to her songs, are pop culture, the experiences of a party-goer or how it feels to break up with a boyfriend, as would be expected of an artist who only recently ceased to be a teenager and is targeting her own age group.
In the song “Royals,” which is also the name of her first album, the singer Lorde, or Ella Yelich-O’Connor, laments about how life isn’t like in rap songs or in the movies and how that is just fine: “That kind of lux just ain’t for us / We crave a different kind of buzz.”
By caving in to BDS pressure, Lorde let herself be used as a political tool and joined a short list of performers who backed out of shows in Israel out of some distorted sense of solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
Lorde would do herself a favor to study the issues before making such a decision. As the Middle East continues to unravel before our eyes, Israel is the only country of stability and freedom for all of its citizens – Jewish, Muslim and Christian.
Yes, Israel has an unresolved conflict with the Palestinians, but by canceling her show she is indicting Israel while strengthening the false claim that Palestinians are innocent victims. Meanwhile, young teenagers will be denied the opportunity to see her in person, though Israeli radio stations will still play her music. It might be absurd to play the music of someone who boycotts you, but then again the boycott is absurd to begin with.
The commissars of “correct” opinions who pressured Lorde are clearly motivated by a bias against Israel that is most probably rooted in antisemitism. What else explains why no noise has been made about Lorde’s intention to appear in Moscow and St. Petersburg? Apparently, Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, its atrocities in Georgia and Chechnya and its repression of basic human rights do not justify a boycott.
By canceling her concert, Lorde places herself in the same camp with totalitarian regimes like North Korea, Yemen and Syria, which blasted Israel last week as the main source of instability in the region during a General Assembly vote against US President Donald Trump’s recent decision on Jerusalem.
Those regimes spread lies about Israel and now Lorde, with her decision, is helping to spread them.
Lorde is supposed to play music. Unfortunately, this time she let herself be played.