Lana Del Rey: Performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement

Singer defends her upcoming appearance at the Meteor Festival

August 20, 2018 01:21
3 minute read.
Lana Del Rey at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards New York, U.S., (January 28, 2018).

Lana Del Rey at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards New York, U.S., (January 28, 2018). . (photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)


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Singer Lana Del Rey took to Twitter on Sunday to defend her upcoming September 7 performance in Israel

“I understand that many of u [sic] are upset we’re going to Tel Aviv for the Meteor Festival,” she wrote on the social media platform. “I understand your concern... what I can tell you is I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together.”

Earlier this week Del Rey was officially announced as part of the lineup of the Meteor Festival being held September 6-8.

Despite the singer repeatedly referencing Tel Aviv in her statement, the festival is slated to take place on Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan in the Hula Valley in northern Israel.

“We signed on to 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 [and] a thematic emphasis on peace,” she wrote. “If you don’t agree with it, I get it. I see both sides.”

Del Rey noted that she is heading for a place "that many big bands are playing this year and at this festival." Indeed the Meteor Festival has already announced a lineup which includes rapper Pusha T, DJ Flying Lotus, jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington and many more. And already this summer, huge concerts have been held in Israel by Enrique Iglesias, Alanis Morissette, Ringo Starr, Ozzy Ozbourne, Maluma and many others.

“We don’t always agree with the politics of the places we play within [sic] or even in our own country,” Del Rey wrote, “but we are musicians and we’ve dedicated our lives to being on the road.”

The singer added that she wanted to remind her fans that “performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there, just as singing here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment [with] my current government’s opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”

Del Rey concluded that she is “a simple singer, I’m doing my best to navigate the waters of the constant tumultuous hardships in the war-torn countries all over the world that I travel through monthly. For the record I’m doing the best I can and my intentions are better than most peoples [sic] that I know.”

In response, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel urged the singer to reconsider.

“We doubt that you would have played in apartheid South Africa; likewise artists refuse to play in apartheid Israel,” PACBI wrote on Twitter. “Please respect our nonviolent picket line, and cancel your Meteor performance.”

Del Rey was slated to play a concert in Israel in 2014, but canceled the show amid Operation Protective Edge.

While there have been a series of cancellations of Israel shows in 2018, only one artist specifically cited the boycott movement as the reason: New Zealand singer Lorde. In May, Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil canceled his show amid the flareup of violence in Gaza; he said then that he was hoping for “other opportunities” in the future. Die Antwoord canceled for scheduling reasons and Natalie Oreiro and Rita Ora pulled out over illness.

Rappers Tyga, Fat Joe and Grandmaster Flash all canceled shows in the past month citing security reasons, and 80s rocker Marc Almond pulled out of a show citing breach of contract.

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