More than 100 artists pen letter backing Lorde's Israel gig cancellation

"We deplore the bullying tactics being used to defend injustice against Palestinians and to suppress an artist’s freedom of conscience."

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January 6, 2018 10:16
2 minute read.
More than 100 artists pen letter backing Lorde's Israel gig cancellation

Lorde performs during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, U.S. April 16, 2017. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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More than a hundred actors, writers, directors and musicians, in a letter published in The Guardian on Saturday, have publicly backed New Zealand singer Lorde’s decision to cancel her scheduled Tel Aviv concert.

Lorde canceled the concert, due to take place in June, following pressure from Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists.

The letter’s signatories include English actress Julie Christie, US writer Alice Walker, English director Ken Loach and English musician and anti-Israel activist Roger Waters.

“We write in support of Lorde, who made public her decision not to perform in Israel,” the artists said in the letter. “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.”

The letter also criticized a full-page ad published in The Washington Post on December 31, taken out by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network organization, calling Lorde a “bigot” and condemning her decision to join “a global antisemitic boycott of Israel.”

“Shmuley Boteach, the author and promoter of the advert, supports Israel’s illegal settlements and wrote last month on Breitbart to thank Donald Trump for ‘electrifying the world’ with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in defiance of international law,” the letter continued. “He has nothing to teach artists about human rights.”

Boteach defended the ad in an interview on New Zealand radio network RadioLIVE, saying it was an example of the Jewish people “standing up for themselves.”


The 21-year-old singer announced the cancellation of the concert on December 25, noting the heavy criticism she had faced since publicizing details of her planned Israel visit.

“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,” Lorde said.

“I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one. I’m truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you.”

Following the cancellation of the concert, Culture Minister Miri Regev called on Lorde to reverse her decision.

“Lorde, I’m hoping you can be a ‘pure heroine,’ like the title of your first album. To be a heroine of pure culture, free from any foreign – and ridiculous – political considerations,” Regev said.

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