Pop star Lana Del Rey is set for a planned concert in Israel next month, telling critics the show is “not a political statement.”
The American pop singer tweeted: “I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together … Performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there, just like singing here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment w[ith] my current government’s opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”
Del Rey intends to perform at the Meteor Festival “with a loving energy with a thematic emphasis on peace”, she said, adding: “I’m doing my best to navigate the waters of the constant tumultuous hardships in the war-torn countries all over the world that I travel through monthly.”
— Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) August 19, 2018
Anti-Israel campaigners have long pressured performing artists to drop Israel from touring schedules.
Within hours of Del Rey confirming her Israel gig, the Palestine Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel issued a statement in response: “We urge you to reconsider. We doubt that you would have played in apartheid South Africa; likewise, artists refuse to play in apartheid Israel.”
Meteor Festival takes place in Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, Israel on 6-8 September, with Del Rey set to appear alongside musicians such as ASAP Ferg, Flying Lotus, Pusha T, and Of Montreal.
Del Rey is not without her supporters. Plenty of them took to social media to say they backed her decision:
Lana del rey has fans all around the world, and not everyone in Israel agrees with the goverment. Should they be forgotten because of things they cannot control? What would happend if she was from another country? Would you like her not going to America just because of Trump?
— Blue stardust (@Lostsunflowers) August 17, 2018
Come Lana, come. Don’t listen to these people. You’ve made the smart choice, Israel is a wonderful country.
— Learsi Reverof (@LearsiReverof) August 19, 2018
Guys this is her decision, where were all of you when other artists performed in Israel like Gaga and Madonna, you all said nothing. She said what she said. You don’t have to agree but YOU ALL GODDAMN KNOW THAT SHE DOESN’T SUPPORT THEM AND SHE HAS GOOD INTENTIONS!
— †♡VENUS♡† (@VenusDeIRey) August 19, 2018
Del Rey was slated to perform in Israel in 2015 but canceled the show as it came amid the Operation Protective Edge conflict, the last war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.
A significant number of artists continue to play the Jewish state despite boycott calls, with Madonna choosing Tel Aviv to kick off her MDNA Tour in 2012.
Radiohead played the city last year, with frontman Thom Yorke responding to an open letter penned to him by Ken Loach, asking him to reconsider, stating: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government”.
Tel Aviv has also seen concerts from the likes of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Santana, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Aerosmith, Britney Spears and Bon Jovi in recent years.