TEL AVIV – American singer Lana Del Rey’s last minute cancellation of a concert in Israel has been slammed by festival organizers as a cheap public relations stunt.
Organizers of next week’s Meteor Festival in the Galilee, at which Del Ray was slated to perform, told Israel’s Channel 2 that Del Ray had been the one to propose performing at the festival in the first place.
On Friday, Del Ray took to Twitter to announce the cancellation, citing her desire to play in both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“It’s important for me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” Del Rey wrote on Twitter on Friday.
“Unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such short notice and therefore I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans,” she said.
Artists performing at the Meteor Festival have been under pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel to cancel their gigs.
Two weeks ago, Del Rey assured her Israeli fans that she would be coming to play despite the BDS pressure.
“I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together,” the singer said.
“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 [with] my current governments [sic] opinions or sometimes inhuman actions,” she wrote.
Del Rey wrote that while she sees “both sides,” she was just doing her “best to navigate the waters of the constant tumultuous hardships” in places she tours around the world.
Festival spokeswoman Liat Turgeman, of the Naranjah production company, told the Jerusalem Post on Saturday, “This is a festival with more than 130 international and local artists, and the number of cancellations is not significant or dramatic in relation to the amount of participating artists.”
Turgeman added, “Despite the difficulties, we are sufficiently determined and excited to overcome them and to begin in a few days with a festival that we have worked very hard on for almost a year.”
On Saturday, infamous anti-Israel boycott leader and former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who was heavily involved in the campaign to bully Del Ray into cancelling, demanded Kamasi Washington follow suit.
“I had assumed it would be a given that you would cancel,” Waters wrote on Facebook. “I love your work. … Given that Lana Del Rey has now canceled, you are the only notable standout. Please don’t play the Meteor Festival. To do so would be a betrayal of everyone who ever stood up for civil or human rights anywhere.”
Earlier this year, more than 100 artists — including Waters — penned an open letter in support of New Zealand pop singer Lorde, who succumbed to pressure from anti-Israel activists and cancelled her scheduled performance in Israel.