UPDATE: Lana Del Rey has postponed her first-ever Israel performance following outcry over the concert. “It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” she wrote in a Twitter statement. “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, as well as hopefully other countries in the region.”
Lana Del Rey will play Meteor Festival in Tel Aviv in September, tweeting a message to fans that noted “music is universal.” Many musicians have called for a cultural boycott of Israel, but Del Rey said her appearance at the festival doesn’t necessarily mean she supports the country’s political views or actions.
In response to criticism of her decision to perform in Tel Aviv, Del Rey wrote, “I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together. We signed on to the show [with] the intention that it would be performed for the kids there and my plan was for it to be done [with] a loving energy with a thematic emphasis on peace.”
She continued, “We don’t always agree with the politics of the places we play within or 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 in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment [with] my current government opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”
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The singer noted that she also does not condone “my own president who openly mocks disabled people at rallies” and wrote that she’s 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.”
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which frequently urges musical artists to cancel performances in Israel, tweeted 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. Please respect our nonviolent picket line, and cancel your Meteor performance.”
Several musicians have canceled performances in Israel in response to the country’s ongoing military action in Palestine, including Lorde, who withdrew from a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv in December. Radiohead, on the other hand, elected to perform in Tel Aviv last summer, in spite of heavy criticism. Frontman Thom Yorke responded to critics by saying that “playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government.”