Lauryn Hill cancels Israel show

R&B singer cites difficulty setting up Ramallah performance, didn’t want her presence to be ‘source of alienation’ for Israeli or Palestinian fans

Lauryn Hill performs during the Bringing Human Rights Home concert on February 5, 2014 in Brooklyn, New York. Lauryn Hill image via 
JStone /
Lauryn Hill performs during the Bringing Human Rights Home concert on February 5, 2014 in Brooklyn, New York. Lauryn Hill image via JStone /

US songstress Lauryn Hill announced Monday that she was canceling her scheduled performance in Israel on Thursday, citing a “challenge” in setting up a show in Ramallah for Palestinian fans as well.

Hill said that when she agreed to play in Israel, her intention was to set up a performance in the Palestinian territories “to be a presence supporting justice and peace.”

“It is very important to me that my presence or message not be misconstrued, or a source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans. For this reason, we have decided to cancel the upcoming performance in Israel, and seek a different strategy to bring my music to ALL of my fans in the region,” she wrote in a message on Facebook on Monday.

The R&B, soul and hip hop artist, whose 1998 album “The miseducation of Lauryn Hill” won five Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, did not mention what the difficulty in setting up a show in the West Bank stemmed from.

Dear Friends and Fans in Israel,When deciding to play the region, my intention was to perform in both Tel Aviv and…

Posted by Ms. Lauryn Hill on Monday, May 4, 2015

International artists are often pressured by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) and other pro-Palestinian organizations to cancel their shows in Israel. Some performers, like Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, take an active role in publicly discouraging others from agreeing to play in the country. These efforts have had some successes but the majority of high-profile artists ignore the boycott calls.

On Saturday, some 40,000 people turned up for an energetic Tel Aviv show by British artist Robbie William who called his time here “fucking amazing.” Lady Gaga performed in Israel just weeks after the 50-day summer war with Hamas ended. And One Republic is set to play at the end of this month.

Hill was scheduled to perform at the Live Park amphitheater in Rishon Lezion. She last performed in Israel in 2007, to less-than-stellar reviews.

The former “Fugees” member has not released an album in 15 years, and has been out of the public eye for the better part of that time, only occasionally appearing at concerts and music festivals.

In 2012, Hill pled guilty to tax evasion for failure to pay federal income taxes, and in 2013, served a three-month prison sentence.

Five of Hill’s six children are with Rohan Marley, son of the reggae legend.

On May 4, 2013, several days before the start of her three-month prison sentence, Hill released her first official single in over a decade, “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix).”

In October 2013, upon her release from prison, she put out a single called “Consumerism,” completed during her incarceration.

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