Lana Del Rey cancels Israel gig, cites inability to perform for Palestinian fans

American singer capitulates to BDS pressure; had previously said her decision to play Meteor Festival in Galilee was not akin to supporting Israeli government policies

Musician Lana Del Rey poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Musician Lana Del Rey poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

In a victory for boycott Israel activists, American singer Lana Del Rey on Friday canceled her show at an Israeli music festival next week.

Del Rey said that since it had not proved possible for her to play both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories, she had decided to cancel her performance at the Meteor Festival in the Galilee.

“It’s important for me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” Del Rey wrote on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such a short notice and therefore I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans, as well as hopefully other countries in the region.”

Last week, Del Rey had defended her decision to play at the Meteor Festival, after facing a backlash over the September 7 gig from BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) activists.

She said then that while many fans were upset by her decision to play the three-day Festival, it was not akin to supporting Israeli government policies.

“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 here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment w my current governments opinions or sometimes inhuman actions,” she wrote.

In that statement, Del Rey, whose original name is Elizabeth “Lizzy” Woolridge Grant, wrote that she sees “both sides” but was just doing her “best to navigate the waters of the constant tumultuous hardships,” wherever she tours around the world.

“We signed on to the show w the intention that it would be performed for the kids there and my plan was for it to be done w a loving energy w a thematic emphasis on peace,” she wrote.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responded to the statement by citing New Zealand singer Lorde, who canceled a show in Israel late last year proclaiming that performing in Tel Aviv would be considered a political act.

Nearly every large act to book a show in Israel has come under pressure from pro-Palestinian groups. While some, like Lorde, Elvis Costello, and Cat Power, have canceled gigs, most have resisted the boycott effort.

Lana Del Rey performs during the LA to the Moon Tour at Philips Arena on February 5, 2018, in Atlanta. (Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP)

It’s unclear if other artists slated for the festival, which will see some 50 international and local acts perform from September 6-8, have also come under pressure.

Del Rey had also planned to perform in Israel in 2014 but was forced to cancel due to the Operation Protective Edge conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza.

A self-styled “gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” the singer is known for her sultry, gravelly voice and music that refers to the pop culture of the 1950s and 1960s.

Her latest album, 2017’s Grammy-nominated “Lust for Life,” reached number one in the US Billboard 200 and in charts around the world.

Her songs have appeared in many movie soundtracks, including The Great Gatsby (2013), Maleficent (2014), and Big Eyes (2014).

The Meteor Festival will be attended by international acts such as Of Montreal, Rappers Pusha-T and A$AP Ferg, electronic musician Flying Lotus, American jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and Russian DJ Nina Kraviz, as well as dozens of local performers, including Fortis, Berry Sakharov, ACollective, Assaf Amdursky, Ester Rada, Hadag Nachash, Jane Bordeaux, Khalas, Noga Erez, and Balkan Beat Box.

The festival is to be held at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan on the Jordan River in the Upper Galilee. Participants will camp under the pecan trees, watching shows on five stages, and can buy full event or day passes.

Jessica Steinberg contributed to this report.

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