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Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Reyvia

Lana Del Rey shares statement explaining decision to perform in Israel

‘I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together... If you don’t agree with it I get it. I see both sides’

Lana Del Rey is performing at Meteor Festival, a new event launching in Tel Aviv, Israel, in September this year. Like any high profile artist artist playing in Israel, Del Rey faced criticism from Palestinian activists and supporters of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, urging her to cancel. Now, Del Rey has issued a statement explaining her decision to perform there.

“I understand many of u are upset that we’re going to Tel Aviv for the Meteor festival,” she wrote on Twitter. “What I can tell you is I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together. 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 added: “If you don’t agree with it I get it. I see both sides. But me and my band have been performing all over the world for months out of the years for close to 10 years now together. And we’re about to travel to a place that many big bands are playing this year and at this festival. We don’t always agree with the politics of the places we play within or even 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 here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment w my current governments opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”

Artists are often urged to cancel shows in Israel as part of the ‘cultural boycott’, a non-violent protest against the government’s occupation of Palestine. BDS describes Israel’s occupation of Palestine as ‘apartheid’, and likens the cultural boycott to the 1980s South African anti-apartheid movement, where international artists refused to play Sun City. Back in 2014, Del Rey actually cancelled a show in Tel Aviv – it would have been her debut performance in Israel.

In response, PACBI (the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) issued a statement: “We urge you to reconsider. We doubt that you would have played in apartheid South Africa; likewise, artists refuse to play in apartheid Israel. Please respect our non-violent picket line, and cancel your Meteor performance.”

While some prominent artists, such as Lorde, have cancelled shows in Israel that were previously booked, others, such as Radiohead, have pressed ahead despite calls to cancel. Read our article exploring why musicians are asked to cancel shows in Israel.

Read Lana Del Rey’s statement below.