Singer Lana Del Rey says playing Israel is not a political act
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Singer Lana Del Rey says playing Israel is not a political act

Musician says decision to play Meteor Festival next month does not signal support for government policies, after apparent backlash from fans

In this April 13, 2014 file photo, Lana Del Ray performs at the 2014 Coachella Music and Arts Festival, in Indio, California. ( Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File)
In this April 13, 2014 file photo, Lana Del Ray performs at the 2014 Coachella Music and Arts Festival, in Indio, California. ( Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File)

American singer Lana Del Rey has defended her decision to play an Israeli music festival, after apparently facing backlash over the September 7 gig.

Del Rey said in a statement Sunday that many fans were upset by her decision to  to play the three-day Meteor Festival in the Galilee, but 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 the 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 and had proclaimed that just 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 activists as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. 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 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).

She will be joined at the festival 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 slated 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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