Culture minister urges popstar Lorde to reconsider Israel gig cancellation
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Culture minister urges popstar Lorde to reconsider Israel gig cancellation

Miri Regev says she 'expects' New Zealand songstress to be a 'true heroine,' like the title of her first album, and stand up to BDS activists

Culture Minister Miri Regev speaks with reporters prior to an event in Kfar Etzion celebrating celebrating 50 years of Israeli settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights on September 27, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Culture Minister Miri Regev speaks with reporters prior to an event in Kfar Etzion celebrating celebrating 50 years of Israeli settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights on September 27, 2017. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev called Sunday night on New Zealand pop singer Lorde to reconsider her cancellation of an upcoming concert in Tel Aviv which came after she received criticism from pro-Palestinian fans.

“I hope that Lorde reconsiders her decision not to play in Israel,” Regev said in a statement after the 21-year-old formally announced she would be pulling out of the June 5 Tel Aviv concert and refunding Israeli fans who had bought tickets.

“Lorde, I expect you to be a ‘pure heroine’ like the title of your first album. A pure heroine of culture, void of any foreign political considerations, not to mention delusional ones,” Regev added in a dig at both the singer and the activists who put pressure on her to cancel her Israel show.

The cancellation came days after Lorde said she was considering pulling out of the gig due to a campaign led by two pro-Palestinian activists in her native New Zealand.

Concert promoter Naranjah released a statement Sunday saying that it was “sorry to announce” that Lorde’s show had been canceled.

The promoter also published a message from Lorde in which she said she had “done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions” before booking the show, but she was “not too proud to admit” that she “didn’t make the right call on this one.”

Lorde performs at Britain’s Lollapalooza festival in 2014 (CC BY Liliane Callegari/Flickr)

“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,” she said.

However, she said that it had been “a dream of mine to visit this beautiful part of the world for many years, and I’m truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you,” adding, “I hope one day we can all dance.”

The cancellation appears to be the latest in a series of acts to pull out of performances in Israel, after pressure from pro-Palestinian activists, who have pushed for a cultural boycott of the Jewish state.

Past cancellations include Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill and The Gorillaz. Other acts have pushed back against the pressure, including rocker Nick Cave, who recently said his Israel concert was spurred on by the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, and Radiohead, which vigorously defended its decision to play in Israel last summer.

New Zealanders Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs — respectively, Palestinian and Jewish — wrote an open letter on Thursday on the website, The Spinoff, saying that Lorde’s scheduled performance in Israel “sends the wrong message.”

“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,” they wrote.

In response, the 21-year-old singer tweeted that she was now “considering all options.”

 

Jessica Steinberg and JTA contributed to this report.

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