'Performing in Israel is not a political statement'

American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey not backing down from plans to perform in Israel despite backlash.

Tags: BDS Music
Elad Benari ,

Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey

American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey is not backing down from plans to perform in Israel, despite backlash over the announcement.

Del Rey is scheduled to perform in Israel as part of the Meteor Festival which will take place at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, outside of Tiberias in the upper Galilee, from September 6 through 8.

“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 with a thematic emphasis on peace. If you don’t agree with it I get it. I see both sides,” she wrote in a statement posted to her Twitter account on Sunday.

“I would like to remind you 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,” added Del Rey, who then noted, “I’m not in any way likening the gravity of certain travesties that have occurred in Israel to the current hardships we’re facing here. I’m just stating that I’m 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 I know.”

Anti-Israel, pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists have in recent years pressured artists who are scheduled to perform in Israel to cancel their shows.

Some of the artists have caved in to the pressure and cancelled their shows. Earlier this year, pop star Lorde cancelled her concert in Israel after pro-Palestinian Arab fans in her native New Zealand criticized her.

Lorde later justified her decision, claiming it was the right one and adding, “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. Tel Aviv, it’s been a dream of mine to visit this beautiful part of the world for many years, and I’m truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you. I hope one day we can all dance.”

On the flip side, many artists have ignored the boycott calls and have gone ahead with their Israel shows as scheduled. These include Australian rocker Nick Cave, who resisted boycott calls and went ahead with his Israel show and even criticized the BDS movement.

In addition to Cave, Radiohead played in Tel Aviv this past July, defying boycott calls. Popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys and pop duo Pet Shop Boys are among the artists who have also performed in Israel in recent years, amid calls to cancel their show.

More recently, Colombian born pop star Shakira went ahead with her Israel show and brushed off warnings that performing in Israel could make her the target of anti-Israel BDS activists.