New Zealanders Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs — the former Palestinian and the latter Jewish — wrote an open letter on Thursday on the website The Spinoff saying that Lorde’s scheduled performance in Israel “sends the wrong message.”
“Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation,” they wrote.
In response, the 21-year-old singer said she is now “considering all options.”
Jewish New Zealand film and TV writer Dane Giraud wrote a subsequent essay on The Spinoff, arguing that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel damages the peace process.
“[Abu-Shanab and Sachs] assert that the situation in the Middle East is ‘actually quite straightforward.’ But that is to reduce complexity to a placard, to skate over a studied consideration of a long and turbulent history,” Giraud wrote. “That leads to the reductive idea that ‘exclusion’ is the answer – the collective punishment of Israelis, 1.5 million Arabs included, through campaigns that seek to deny them participation in the world community.”
Earlier this year, former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters clashed with Thom Yorke, the singer of the British band Radiohead, and Australian rocker Nick Cave over their performances in Israel. Waters, a leading proponent of the BDS movement, urged Yorke and Cave to cancel their concerts in Israel. Both refused — Yorke called the BDS campaign “offensive” and Cave said Waters subjects musicians to “public humiliation” over the issue.
Several popular musicians, such as Elvis Costello and Lauryn Hill, have cancelled past concerts in Israel over the government’s policies towards the Palestinians.
Lorde co-wrote her latest album “Melodrama” with Jewish producer Jack Antonoff, who wore a visible Jewish star to the MTV Video Music Awards in August.