American Singer Lana Del Rey has said she will “visit Palestine too”, after facing criticism for her decision to play the Meteor Festival in Israel.
After the news broke that Del Rey would headline the festival, the Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called for the singer to cancel her performance, urging her to “respect our non-violent picket line”.
Del Rey responded initially by tweeting that she “see[s] both sides”, and her visit “is not a political statement”. “We signed onto the show w the intention that it would be performed for the kids there and my plan was for it to be done with a loving energy w a thematic emphasis on peace,” she wrote. “If you don’t agree with it I get it.”
The singer yesterday posted a new statement to Instagram, doubling-down on her decision to play at the festival in Northern Israel, but adding that she will also visit Palestine. “My views on democracy and oppression are aligned with mostly liberal views,” she wrote. “I forward to meeting both Palestinian and Israeli children and playing music for everyone”.
She concluded her message by addressing former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. “I read your statement about taking action even when you believe in neutrality,” she wrote. “I totally understand what you’re saying and this is my action.”
Waters had written a message to Del Rey on his Facebook page earlier in the day. “Palestine is a unique situation in that the BDS picket line exists at the request of Palestine civil society as a whole,” he said. To respect it as I, and many others do, is a political act of support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for basic human rights.”
PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) tweeted a response to Lana’s new statement, calling it a “token gesture”. “We would welcome you to Palestine should you cancel your Meteor performance,” the organisation wrote. “But we cannot accept your token gesture as you step across our boycott picket line. Palestinian civil society, with overwhelming consensus, refuses such fig leaves to soften the blow of dismissing our non-violent call and thus undermining our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”
Several artists have recently heeded calls from human-rights advocates to boycott performing in Israel as a way of protesting the government’s treatment of Palestinians. Del Rey previously cancelled a show in Israel in 2014 due to conflict in Gaza, following Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s campaign to eradicate tunnels running between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel. Earlier this year, New Zealand singer Lorde cancelled a concert in Tel Aviv, and Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman declines to go to Israel to receive the country’s prestigious Genesis Prize.