Campaigners are slamming Lana Del Rey for making a “token gesture” toward Palestinians even as she acknowledges the increasing pressure she is facing to cancel a gig in Israel next month.
Despite the calls from fans and fellow artists not to go ahead with her appearance at the Meteor Festival, the American pop singer insisted in a post on Instagram Tuesday that “We will be still playing our show in Israel.”
But in a sign she is feeling the heat, Del Rey added: “That being said, I understand the concern towards showing support to the Palestinians too.”
“So I just wanted to let you know when I’m in Israel I will be visiting Palestine too and I look forward to meeting both Palestinian and Israeli children and playing music for everyone. I want peace for both Israel and Palestine.”
No to “fig leaves”
But PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, was not having it.
“Inspired by the struggle of Black South Africans during apartheid, Palestinians are asking for meaningful solidarity – not charity – as we resist Israel’s decades-long oppression,” PACBI stated.
Del Rey’s attempt to place herself and music above politics is belied by how Israel deliberately uses artists to whitewash its image, and it ignores Israel’s targeted attacks on Palestinian cultural institutions – including the Israeli army’s deliberate destruction of the Said al-Mishal cultural center in Gaza earlier this month, one of the few major venues in the besieged territory.
PACBI said that Del Rey would be welcome to visit only if she first cancels her performance at the Meteor Festival, an event put on by promoters whose specific mission is to polish Israel’s image, tarnished by its occupation and violence against Palestinians.
“But we cannot accept your token gesture as you step across our boycott picket line,” PACBI said.
“Palestinian civil society, with overwhelming consensus, refuses such fig leaves to soften the blow of dismissing our nonviolent call and thus undermining our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”
Earlier, rock legend Roger Waters intervened, tweeting at Del Rey that “Palestine is a unique situation in that the BDS picket line exists at the request of Palestine civil society as a whole.”
In a longer message on Facebook, Waters wrote that to cross the BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – picket line “is a political act in support of the apartheid state” of Israel, “even if in your heart of hearts you believe yourself to be neutral.”
“I have no doubt the Israeli promoters are paying top dollar, they are well known for that,” Waters added, “but is the price worth passing up your moment on the road to Damascus and abandoning your Palestinian brothers and sisters to their fate in their hour of need?”
South African artists cancel
While Del Rey continued to disregard such appeals, other artists have been showing them respect.
Bands Khalas and Zenobia also canceled their performances:
UK artist Ross From Friends also tweeted that he was “not interested in playing at Meteor Festival in Israel” and shared PACBI’s call to boycott the event.
American artist How to Dress Well also refused to take part in the festival.
London-based artist Deadboy urged those set to perform at the Meteor Festival “to have a look at the situation before going” and learn “how powerful a cultural boycott on an apartheid state can be.”
Deadboy added that he played there in that past “when I was young and clueless, and I regret it.”
Meanwhile, activists continued to urge other artists who still appear on the Meteor Festival lineup to pull out, including A$AP Ferg, Flying Lotus, Of Montreal and Kamasi Washington.
Israeli government propaganda is fully onboard with Del Rey’s latest tactic of posing as a friend of Palestinian children and peace in order to deflect criticism of her trip to Israel.
The operatives running the Israeli government-backed Act.IL app are urging social media users to share Del Rey’s latest statement in which she defends her decision to play in Israel and says she will be “visiting Palestine.”