Some slight melodrama ensued last week as Lorde became the latest artist to boycott Israel, announcing her decision to cancel her upcoming concert in Tel Aviv this summer in a written statement.
While Lorde did not explicitly mention the Palestinian–led group BDS (which stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) or any specific events in her statement, the singer mentioned an open fan letter that discussed the “human rights violations” on the part of the Israeli government. The BDS movement is a global movement aimed at "effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler–colonialism,” according to the group’s website. The group has received increased media attention over the past few years as various bands, artists, and celebrities have been vocal about their support for the movement on social media.
Before Lorde, other artists, including former Pink Floyd founder and singer Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Thurston Moore and Lauryn Hill, have all cancelled their performances in Israel due to pressure from BDS members. On the other hand, Radiohead and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds came under fire by BDS and their BDS supportive artist counterparts for proceeding with their shows.
In a written statement, Lorde explained her decision to fans and critics following the inevitable post–announcement social media storm.
"I pride myself on being an informed young citizen, and I had done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions before deciding to book a show in Tel Aviv,” Lorde wrote. “But I'm not too proud to admit I didn't make the right call on this one."
So, Lorde is deciding to make a call, and “the right one” at that. If she believes in not performing as a stand against what she is calling human rights violations, I fully support and applaud that. But the fact remains that Israel is the only country she is boycotting on this tour. Lorde apparently has no problem playing in Russia, where LGBTQ folks are continually persecuted, free speech is a punishable offense, and elections are less than fair (and that's not even touching the state's support of Middle Eastern dictatorships in countries such as Syria and Iran).
While some are saying that this dichotomy in choice has hints of anti–Semitism, the Israeli culture minister Miri Regev expressed his hopes that Lorde would reverse the cancellation and still come to play in Israel.
"Lorde, I'm hoping you can be a 'pure heroine,' like the title of your first album,” he said in a written statement last week. “Be a heroine of pure culture, free from any foreign—and ridiculous—political considerations."