Headliner Lana Del Rey drops out of Israel music festival

Lana Del Rey

Jales Valques SIPA USA

In a major victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, Lana Del Rey, the headliner of next week’s Meteor Festival in Israel, has dropped out.

Palestine rights activists and fans had urged the American pop singer and other slated performers to cancel their appearances and not cross the Palestinian picket line.

Del Rey posted a statement to Twitter on Friday saying she wanted to “treat all my fans equally” and was therefore “postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans.”

The Meteor Festival is being held next week in northern Israel, on land inaccessible to millions of Palestinians because they are not Jewish.

Del Rey had earlier insisted that her appearance at the festival could inspire change “even if it’s just for a minute.”

She attempted to placate those urging her to cancel her show by saying she would be “visiting Palestine too.”

But Palestinian rights campaigners rejected her “token gesture” and urged her to heed the boycott call instead.

A petition encouraging Del Rey and other scheduled artists to cancel their Meteor Festival appearances garnered nearly 15,000 signatures.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel thanked Del Rey for withdrawing from the festival.

“Palestinians hope to hear you play when Israel’s occupation and apartheid end,” the group stated.

“We urge all participating artists in the festival to respect our nonviolent picket line.”

It is not the first scheduled Del Rey performance in Israel to be canceled.

Citing regional instability, show producers canceled her Tel Aviv concert scheduled for August 2014 as the Israeli military pounded the Gaza Strip that summer.

“A no-show”

Del Rey’s cancelation is a major blow to Israeli government efforts to use arts and culture to whitewash its military occupation and colonial apartheid system.

The government-backed Act.IL app was used to launch a fake grassroots social media campaign – a tactic known as astroturfing – that directed users to praise the pop singer’s planned performance.

The Meteor Festival promoters issued a short statement on Del Rey’s cancelation.

“Just got the word that Lana will be a no-show at Meteor. We do appreciate her for choosing meteor to help her score some press attention,” they stated, adding that the festival is still going ahead.

In addition to Del Rey’s cancelation, artists DJ Volvox, DJ Python, Shanti Celeste, DJ Seinfeld, Black Motion and bands Khalas and Zenobia have all pulled out.

PACBI stated on Wednesday that another artist had dropped their gig but “prefers to remain anonymous.”

Other performers have publicly stated that they had refused offers to play the festival.

As of Friday, performers including A$AP Ferg, Pusha T, Kamasi Washington, Of Montreal, Why? and Flying Lotus remain on the bill.

Israel apologists admonished Lana Del Rey for her decision to drop her Meteor Festival gig:

Meanwhile, fans and Palestine rights activists thanked Del Rey:

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Comments

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Thank you so much Lana for doing the right thing .Until all the people that live in Palestine are living in peace , support for segregation cannot be accepted.

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There's been talk back and forth about whether Ms. Del Rey would be able to perform two separate-but-equal concerts, one for Jews and another for Palestinians. That in itself should indicate where the problem lies, and why it's not possible to successfully pretend that Israel is a normal venue on anyone's world tour. (As it turned out, the Two-Gig Solution proved unworkable in practice.)

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Boycotts by popular cultural personalities in justifiable circumstances give moral voice, as here,
to Israeli flagrant failures of Israel to respect the most basic rights of the Palestinian people, and neither governments nor the UN respond in meaningful ways. I applaud Lana Del Rey for her principled approach and will listen to her performances with added appreciation.

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Good to see the anger and disappointment of the Israeli comments about Lana's pullout...maybe it will get them thinking, and with more apartheid impact to come in the now officially 'Jewish people's rights only' state, their disappointments should begin multiplying. Even the organizers seem to make a snide comment that Lana "benefitted from the publicity of meteor". Sour grapes...very sour...and getting much more sour.

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If Lana's pull-out gets Israeli's thinking I doubt it will be along the lines of reconsidering either the morality or sustainability of the Israeli occupation/siege but will be more along the lines of Americans and other westerners not understanding the 'complexities' of the Israeli situation or of being unable to suppress their inherent anti-Semitism now expressed as hostility towards Israel. Apparently the incurable virus of antisemitism has morphed into anti-Zionism now known as the New Anti-Semitism.

Yes, there was sour grapes in some of the Israeli comments but more to the point was the comments from Palestinians expressing their thanks for her not crossing the apartheid picket line. The more we hear of the Palestinian voice, the better. I hope that these BDS successes bolster Palestinian morale; that they are not alone even if, right now, there appears little likelihood of BDS and other like-minded groups bringing about justice and relief from Israeli oppression in the immediate future.

There is nothing in anything that Lana has tweeted that indicates that she has much knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and she has certainly announced her decision in the least offensive (to Israelis/Zionists) language possible. But why should we realistically expect a young popular performer to pay much attention to the I/P conflict? Anyone who initially agrees to perform in Israel in the first place is either unaware or not too concerned re the plight of the Palestinians and their pull-out is probably primarily due to not wanting to court too much political controversary. To me, the bouquets go to BDS and activists and the hope is that performers like Lana, as they become exposed to Israeli transgressions via BDS do not even consider crossing the apartheid picket line in the future out of conviction.

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I agree with your comment for the most part .I would wager that Lana will be learning more about what and why she has chosen to boycott , simply because she will will be getting a lot of heat based on her decision and this is what actually drives the BDS movement .The more one finds out about it the more one is driven by one's own principles of justice .

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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).