Lorde cancels Tel Aviv show, calls it “the right decision”

Lorde has canceled her Tel Aviv gig. (Krists Luhaers/Flickr)

Chart-topping singer Lorde has called off her Tel Aviv show, just days after fans urged her to respect the international picket line.

According to Israeli news reports, concert organizers confirmed on Sunday that the show was canceled and tickets would be refunded.

“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 in a statement provided via Israeli promoters and posted on Twitter by a Jerusalem Post journalist.

The New Zealander added that she prides herself “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.”

Lorde had yet to say anything on her own Twitter or Facebook accounts about the cancellation, though by Sunday afternoon, her Tel Aviv show had already been deleted from the tour schedule on her official website.

But just days before she canceled her Tel Aviv gig, Lorde acknowledged that she had read an open letter to her, posted in New Zealand’s The Spinoff, which urged her to cancel her show and respect the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign due to Israel’s rampant violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.

Thanking the authors of the letter on Wednesday, Lorde tweeted that said she was “considering all options,” noting “I am learning all the time too.”

Israel’s culture minister Miri Regev belittled Lorde’s motivations and the boycott campaign, imploring the pop star to be a “pure heroine” – referring to Lorde’s first album – “free from any foreign – and ridiculous – political considerations.”

Several years ago, Regev notoriously called African migrants in Israel “a cancer” and later apologized for likening them to human beings.

“Principled stance”

While Israeli politicians bristled at the news of Lorde’s cancellation, fans and activists celebrated the news on Sunday.

PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, thanked Lorde for listening to her fans.

“Your unwavering commitment to progressive values inspires us and gives us hope,” the campaign group tweeted.

The group Dayenu: New Zealand Jews Against the Occupation, which had campaigned for Lorde to cancel, called her decision to do so “a holiday miracle.”
Israeli author and artist Yuval Ben-Ami told Newsweek that Lorde’s decision to pull out of the Tel Aviv show “is paramount to the BDS movement’s influence on a new generation of performers.”

“Several other great artists have canceled, [but Lorde] appears to be the first of her generation, and that’s meaningful,” he added.

Ben-Ami suggested that in other countries where human rights violations are a concern, “similar movements to BDS” should spring forth. He called Lorde’s move “the right choice” so long as “people here live without rights.”

A spurned Israeli concert producer, however, dismissed Lorde’s decision while slandering activists with the BDS movement. The producer, Eran Arieli, claimed the 21-year-old pop star canceled her show due to pressure by an “army of globalist anti-Semites weighing down on her head.”

Conceding the strength of the cultural boycott campaign, Arieli said in a Facebook post that Lorde’s decision “is not the first cancellation we’ve experienced and it won’t be the last.”

Lorde joins a growing number of high-profile artists and performers who have respected the international picket line and called off or declined shows in Israel.

They include Elvis Costello, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Lauryn Hill, Faithless, Marianah, U2, Bjork, Zakir Hussain, Jean-Luc Godard, Snoop Dogg, Cat Power and Vanessa Paradis.

Watch Lorde singing “Homemade Dynamite,” a track from her new album Melodrama, below.

This article has been updated since initial publication.




Why do you always forget to mention Stevie Wonder & Thurston Moore canceled Israel?
Second time around Pherrel Williams canceled and I feel Rihanna won't be playing there again.
Lana Del Ray & Neil Young promised to reschedule years ago - not happened yet.
Rag N Bone man canceled several weeks ago. Natalie Imbruglia canceled, not clear why but interesting to note she did a documentary on indigenous Australian women & their struggles. Many pointed out her hypocrisy on Twitter & highlighted indigenous Palestinian women's plight.


Bravo Lorde, I too would not go to a state that occupies, colonizes and oppresses a defenseless population that has resisted for more than 50 years a situation of injustice of the Israeli Ogre...


My congratulations to Lorde for doing the right thing and cancelling her upcoming concert in Tel Aviv. It is apparent that Lorde is "...an informed young citizen", and her knowledge of the reality of what Zionism/Israel represents lead her to making this correct decision. Knowledge is power and it is what Zionists fear--the knowledge of the truth!


Thought this was very disappointing. I wrote to complain. Urge others to. The article below on the BBC website essentially repeats Shmuley Boteach's slander (anti-Semitism) and provides little or no broad context - such as the open letter written by a Jew and a Palestinian or the cultural boycott. Finally, the article concludes in such a way as to make it appear that Lorde regrets the decision to withdraw, rather than regretting the decision to book the date in Tel Aviv. Really disappointing... Article below:

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).