Lorde announced via Twitter Thursday night, in response to an open letter posted to New Zealand site The Spinoff, that she is considering cancelling an upcoming show in Tel Aviv.
Noted! Been speaking w many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too ?
— Lorde (@lorde) December 21, 2017
The letter, entitled “Dear Lorde, here’s why we’re urging you not to play Israel”, was written by fans in her home country of New Zealand- Justine Sachs, who is Jewish, and Nadia Abu-Shanab, who is Palestinian. It begins:
We’re writing to you about your planned performance in Israel. We’re two young women based in Aotearoa, one Jewish, one Palestinian. We write this with the knowledge we might be imposing on some Vogels-fuelled downtime here, but we feel strongly about this and we’d really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to hear us out.
Our names are Justine and Nadia. Justine is part of Dayenu. Dayenu is a group of young New Zealand Jews against the occupation of Palestine. ‘Dayenu’ is a popular holiday song, sung during Passover. It translates roughly to “it would have been enough for us”. The driving principle of Dayenu is saying “enough” to Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
Nadia is a Palestinian New Zealander. Her family live under occupation in the West Bank. Today her dad is a teacher in a well known New Zealand school, but was born in a cave (yes a cave, this shit be biblical) on family land north of Hebron. This land was the lifeblood of her family, until with the help of the Israeli state, Israeli settlers moved in. They stole the land and razed olive groves to the ground. Her family experience daily humiliation, violence and brutality at the hands of Israel.
The two of us work together (with others) for peace and justice in the Middle East and an end to Israeli apartheid. People often will say that the Israel-Palestine debacle is melodrama that dates back millennia. Thing is, like with a lot of situations of oppression, it’s actually quite straightforward once you start hearing about what’s really happening.”
The fans go on to argue that performing in Tel Aviv could be seen as an act of support for the Israeli government’s policies, including the occupation of bordering Palestine.
“As fans of yours, we know that you’re an empathetic artist who is committed to the empowerment of women, the LGBTIQ community and people of colour. We’ve watched as you’ve used your platform to draw attention to institutional racism, sexism and white privilege. You’ve talked about the need to “stay informed and stay outraged” about the intolerant and discriminatory policies of the Trump administration. We only ask you do the same with the Israeli government.”
Earlier this year, both Radiohead and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds faced backlash from playing shows in Tel Aviv despite fan criticism. British singer Elvis Costello, who is quoted in the letter, and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters have been vocal advocates of a cultural boycott of Israel until peace is restored.
Many fans took to Twitter to call on Lorde to respect the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) and cancel, and some wrote her to ask to go forward with the show, as well. A response letter was posted to The Spinoff shortly thereafter the first called “Dear Lorde, here’s why an Israel boycott is the wrong answer”.
Don't play in Tel Aviv while they have the Palestinians under a brutal occupation! Very disappointed in you! Boycott Israel!
— justice (@Newjersey1987) December 18, 2017
Lorde is planning to break the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement by performing in Israel.the boycott has been called by Palestinian civil society, artists and musicians to resist the brutal military occupation. We urge you Lorde to cancelTel Aviv show #LordeDontGo
— Jacqui Smith (@jacquel04707821) December 19, 2017
.@lorde I want to to join the other voices asking you to respect the boycott of Israel. Artists like yourself can play an important part in ending oppression in the world. Can you hear the violence? #LordeDontGo
— Byron C Clark (@byroncclark) December 19, 2017
Ella, please don't cancel the concert! Think about your fans in israel! It's not our fault that we were born into this complex situation.. we are just normal people that love music and appreciate your talent.
Canceling the show won't change anything. @lorde
— avital (@avital_moshe) December 21, 2017
As an Israeli-South African the article linked does not represent the full and complicated situation going on in Israel. Canceling your show will only effect your fans in Israel with no connection to the government from hearing your great music.Don’t give into pressure ,peform
— Evan (@evanf0902) December 22, 2017
So if Lorde is supposed to boycott playing Israel – does that mean she should also boycott shows in the USA because they are allies? Where do the protests stop? I hope she plays Tel Aviv and ignores the political guilt mongerers. Music is bigger than politics
— steakeggsandchips (@steakeggs_chips) December 22, 2017
The Tel Aviv show doesn’t take place until June 5, so the singer has some time to make her final decision. However, the backlash likely won’t subside until she announces a decision.