By ILANIT CHERNICK
(TPS.ogr) — Following weeks of pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Lana Del Rey has canceled her performance at the Meteor Festival.
The festival is scheduled to kick off next week at Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan in the Galilee.
In a statement on Twitter, Del Rey said that her reason for “postponing” her appearance was because she was unable to “schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans.” Del Ray has announced previously that she was adding a visit to Gaza, but that she would honor her commitment to appear next week at the festival scheduled to be held in the Galilee area.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such a short notice and therefore I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival,” she summed up.
Reactions to her last-minute cancellation varied. Britain’s Eighties icon Boy George criticized her decision. He told a Twitter user who had criticized him for encouraging Del Rey to play that “Gemini’s like @LanaDelRey don’t normally respond well to being told what to do. We don’t follow. We go forth with the message of love. She was wrong to cancel,” adding that he wasn’t unsympathetic to their cause.”
However, he followed with: “Let me know how @LanaDelRey not turning up to play in Israel made a real difference.”
A BDS statement thanked Del Rey for her “principled decision to withdraw from Israel’s Meteor Festival. You heeded the call by countless fans & groups who care deeply about justice…We urge all remaining artists to also respect the Palestinian picket line.”
Deputy Diplomacy Minister Michael Oren considered Lana Del Rey’s cancellation as “a turning point in the fight against the BDS.”
Oren expressed regret. “From now on, each artist will be able to condition his appearance in Israel with a parallel concert for the Palestinians, who will resist in advance and thus enjoy the power of veto over every performance in Israel,” he said. “This is another victory for BDS and a defeat for Israel.”
However, Liat Turgerman, a representative for the festival said in a statement that the festival was hosting 130 international and local artists and “the number of those who have canceled is not significant or dramatic compared to those who will be performing. Despite the difficulties…we are determined and excited enough to overcome them and begin, in a few days, a festival we have been working on for nearly a year.”
Organizers also told Hadashot TV news that Del Rey had been the one to contact the festival expressing an interest in performing, only to suddenly cancel her gig at the last minute.
Prior to her cancellation, she and Roger Waters exchanged words on Twitter – she defending her decision to play in Israel, while Waters lambasted her for it. In an open letter, he told her that to cross the BDS picket line, which is supported by Palestinian civil society, “is a political act in support of the apartheid state that would deny them those basic human rights. Even if in your heart of hearts you believe yourself to be neutral.
“I have no doubt the Israeli promoters are paying top dollar, they are well known for that, but is the price worth passing up your moment on the road to Damascus and abandoning your Palestinian brothers and sisters to their fate in their hour of need?” Waters wrote.
She responded by telling Waters that she “totally understands what you’re saying and this is my action,” referring at the time, to her choice to still play in Israel.
In December, New Zealandic pop singer Lorde gave in to pressure from BDS activists and canceled a scheduled concert in Israel, organized by the same production company that is putting on the Meteor Festival.