A group of more than 100 artists wrote an open letter in support of New Zealand pop star Lorde’s decision to cancel a show in Israel.
News of the cancellation of Lorde’s June concert in Tel Aviv came days after pro-Palestinian Arab fans in her native New Zealand criticized her. Israeli concert organizers announced the cancellation and said ticket sales would be refunded.
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.”
The letter of support by the group of artists was published on Friday in The Guardian and was a response to U.S. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who published a full page advertisement in the Washington Post in which he called Lorde a Jew-hating “bigot” and a hypocrite on human rights issues.
“We write in support of Lorde, who made public her decision not to perform in Israel and has now been branded a bigot in a full page advertisement in the Washington Post (Report, 1 January),” wrote the artists.
“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,” they added.
“He has nothing to teach artists about human rights. 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,” concluded the letter.
Among the signatories to the letter are former Pink Floyd frontman and notorious anti-Israel activist Roger Waters, as well as British composer Brian Eno, a longtime supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who in 2016 ordered an Israeli dance company to stop using his music.
Eno was among the many British artists who signed the Artists Pledge for a cultural boycott of Israel that was launched in February 2015 by Artists for Palestine UK.