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21 Jan 2018 7:47
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  •   Home > News > International

    Why Lorde's cancelled Israel concert is causing so much drama

    A lot of people are happy and a lot of them are angry at the 21-year-old pop star's decision to cancel a concert in Israel. Here's why.

    Lorde has been making headlines of late, and probably not for reasons she had hoped.

    A decision to host, then cancel a concert in Israel has culminated in the New Zealand pop star featuring in a full-page attack ad in one of the world's most read newspapers.

    So how did the 21-year-old get entangled in one of the world's most controversial issues?

    Let's take a look.

    So what actually happened?

    In late December, Lorde announced a concert in Tel Aviv in June as part of her Melodrama World Tour.

    A few days later, The Spinoff published an open letter urging Lorde not to play her concert in Tel Aviv.

    "Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli Government, even if you make no comment on the political situation. Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music," the letter read.

    That spurred on more pressure from pro-Palestinian activists, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has advocated for a cultural boycott of Israel to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the territory Palestinians seek for a state.

    A few days later, Lorde officially cancelled her 2018 Tel Aviv concert.

    Why are some people upset with her decision?

    The decision to cancel the concert has been interpreted by some as Lorde taking a side in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    A pro-Israel organisation took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post calling the singer-songwriter a "bigot" and accusing New Zealand of "growing prejudice" against the Jewish people.

    The ad called attention to Lorde's decision to keep tour dates in Russia, while dropping the Tel Aviv concerts.

    "While Lorde claims to be concerned with human rights, she hypocritically chose to proceed with her two concerts in Putin's Russia, despite his support for Assad's genocidal regime which has already claimed the lives of over 500,000 innocents," the ad said.

    Israel's Ambassador to New Zealand Itzhak Gerberg called the cancellation "regrettable" and asked Lorde to meet with him.

    But others have praised Lorde for cancelling the concert

    The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel posted a statement on Twitter thanking the artist for "heeding appeals from your fans against Israel's art-washing of its brutal oppression of Palestinians."

    The BDS movement praised Lorde's decision on Twitter:

    What has Lorde said?

    Not a whole lot.

    She acknowledged the initial criticism of the tour announcement in a tweet before making the decision to cancel the show:

    Lorde then released a short statement explaining her decision to cancel:

    She's yet to respond to any other criticism, including the Washington Post ad.

    Is she the only person to cancel a concert in Israel?


    Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and Elvis Costello have boycotted Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians in recent years.

    But there are also plenty of artists who have played Tel Aviv in recent years — Justin Bieber, Elton John, Guns N' Roses and Lady Gaga to name a few.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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