Lana Del Rey defends her decision to perform in Israel: 'Music is universal'
“Performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement … just as singing in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment [with] my current government opinions,” says Del Rey.
The decision to perform in Israel has been a polarizing point for musicians across the world. In the wake of growing tensions in the country and a recent spate of violence in relation to the US Embassy being relocated to Jerusalem, hundreds of artists have come forward to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) in Israel including the likes of Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Thurston Moore, and Kathleen Hanna. Earlier this May, Wolf Alice and Portishead joined the list with their vocal protest against the political landscape in Israel.
But not all artists seem to share the view. Last year, Nick Cave went through with his gig to “make a principled stand against anyone who wants to censor and silence musicians.” Radiohead, too, resisted calls to cancel their show in Tel Aviv last summer. The latest artist to join the other team on the issue is pop sensation Lana Del Rey, who is billed to play the Meteor Festival in Tel Aviv this week.
In response to criticism of her decision to perform in Tel Aviv, Del Rey took to Twitter to clarify her stance. “I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together," she tweeted. "We signed on to the show [with] the intention that it would be performed for the kids there and my plan was for it to be done [with] a loving energy with a thematic emphasis on peace.”
She continued, “We don’t always agree with the politics of the places we play within or in our own country – sometimes we don’t even feel safe, depending on how far abroad we travel – but we are musicians and we’ve dedicated our lives to being on the road … I would like to remind you that performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there just as singing in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment [with] my current government opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”
The 'Summertime Sadness' singer also noted that she does not condone “my own president who openly mocks disabled people at rallies” and wrote that she’s doing “my best to navigate the waters of the constant tumultuous hardships in the war-torn countries all over the world that I travel through monthly.”
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which frequently urges musical artists to cancel performances in Israel, was quick to respond to Del Ray with a tweet of their own. “We urge you to reconsider. We doubt that you would have played in apartheid South Africa; likewise, artists refuse to play in apartheid Israel," they wrote. "Please respect our nonviolent picket line, and cancel your Meteor performance.”
.@LanaDelRey We urge you to reconsider. We doubt that you would have played in apartheid South Africa; likewise, artists refuse to play in apartheid Israel.— PACBI (@PACBI) August 19, 2018
Please respect our nonviolent picket line, and cancel your Meteor performance.https://t.co/PeVLbnsYO3 pic.twitter.com/l4Xcl5CvC9