With news of Trump’s plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and efforts to move the U.S. embassy there, there has been increased attention centered on the growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS movement, in brief, seeks to hold Israel accountable for its continued occupation of Palestine as well as other human rights violations. The latest artist to get involved is New Zealand pop singer Lorde.
“The truth is that I was naive to think that an artist of her age can withstand the pressure involved in coming to Israel, and I take full responsibility and ask the forgiveness of fans, admirers and other dreamers,” Eran Arielli, owner and founder of concert organizer which promoted the show, said.
Lorde cancelled her show after she engaged in a Twitter conversation with activists and fans. Jewish activist Justine Sachs and Palestinian activist Nadia Abu-Shanab wrote an open letter last week calling for Lorde to cancel her show in Tel Aviv.
“In this context, a performance in Israel sends the wrong message,” the activists wrote. “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 current situation. Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music.”
The artist responded to a Twitter user who shared the letter saying she was “considering all options.”
“We’ve watched you as you’ve used your platform to draw attention to institutional racism, sexism, and white privilege,” Sachs and Abu-Shanab wrote in the letter. “You’ve talked about the need to ‘stay informed and stay outraged’ about the intolerant and discriminatory policies of the Trump administration. We only ask you do the same with the Israeli government.”
The conversation regarding the Israeli occupation has recently elevated within global media outlets after the news of the Tamimi women from the small Palestinian village of Nabi Selah were arrested for defending themselves against Israeli officers. Officers had previously shot and gravely wounded a 14-year-old family member on their own property. The youngest Tamimi woman, 16-year-old Ahed, is currently being held in Israeli military detention, where many Palestinian children are said to be subjected to abuse including torture and solitary confinement.
Lorde seems to understand why organizers around the world support divestment from Israel even if Trump does not. Are we surprised? Nah.