2017 was the springtime for international concerts in Israel. With artists like Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Daddy Yankee and Radiohead making Tel-Aviv one of their tour stops, it seemed as if the world has finally and officially dismissed the BDS movement and the pillars of lies it stands upon.
But then came the announcement that Lorde has backed down from her Tel-Aviv concert scheduled to take place in June, and ruined everything…
According to the official announcement, the music star said that “the right decision at this time” was to cancel her concert, scheduled earlier this month for June in Tel Aviv. “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.” But after having “lots of discussions” about the matter, “I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one” in first scheduling the concert.
And then, just like that, she took us back a few years, to the darkest of times in our international cultural relationships, when the BDS movement was at its prime.
Is this about who screams the loudest? Because if so, then we definitely don’t stand a chance in this battle. BDS has the loudest voice, but it’s also because they shout catchy slogans and avoid the truth. Speaking about the complicated reality we live in takes a softer voice, and requires a lot of patience. But being the “instant generation” we are, we prefer the issues of the world being presented to us in short, simple sentences.
This makes “Israel is an Apartheid state” easier to follow than “we live in a conflicted area, where one side has declared independence 70 years ago but the other side insists on owning the exact same territory. The Palestinians live under the Palestinian Authority governance and Israeli Arabs enjoy equal rights in Israel. However, the Palestinian demand for the Israeli territories lead to terrorism and violence, which requires Israel to stiffen border checks from Palestinian Territories into Israel, and sometimes, when missiles are being fired from Gaza to Israel – to fight back.”
Even this paragraph doesn’t cover the tip of the iceberg, but it’s long enough for people to move along to a simpler messaging.
The responses to Lorde’s cancellation were definitely heard. People tried, in more or less polite ways, to explain to her just how ridiculous her decision is, and how ignorant it is to cancel a concert based on something she heard and didn’t like. But sadly, it’s easier to fall into gorey rhetoric and definite statements about murder and apartheid than it is to do some reading.
Honestly, there’s nothing more frustrating than knowing the truth and seeing someone falling for lies. Hey, Lorde! Think there might be an apartheid regime here? Come and see for yourself. Or ask any of your musician friends who were here in recent years (like Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Rihanna or Elton John.)
Want to take action in promoting peace in the region? Perform and have ads posted in Arabic as well as in Hebrew, like Robbie Williams did.
Besides, isn’t music about bringing people together, not deepening conflicts? Isn’t music about people, not countries? After all, you did chose to maintain your concerts in Russia, where the anti-LGBT “Gay Propaganda Law” has recently been denounced.
I believe Creative Community for Peace put it best in saying: “Artists should never become beholden to the political views of a small but loud minority. … Lorde became the target of that wrath, and we’re deeply disappointed that rather than rebuff the boycott movement and follow in the footsteps of Radiohead, Nick Cave, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, and many other artists who have chosen to build #BridgesNotBoycotts, she canceled her show.”
So Lorde, if you’re reading this, know that instead of taking us forward, you took our entire society a mile backwards. And yes, even though I believe you naively fell for deception and lies, shame IS on you.