Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand has penned an open letter to Lorde, requesting a face-to-face meeting to discuss her decision to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv.
Lorde recently unveiled plans to perform in the Israeli city in June (18), but the live date was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike, with many supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement urging her to reconsider and axe the show as a protest about the ongoing hostilities between Israel and neighbouring Palestine.
Lorde has since bowed to public pressure to pull the gig, admitting she “didn’t make the right call” in adding the stop to her Melodrama World Tour, but that move has prompted a backlash from pro-Israel supporters, and now Dr. Itzkah Gerberg, Israel’s government representative to the pop star’s native New Zealand, has reached out to the 21-year-old via Facebook.
“It is regrettable that you have canceled your concert in Tel Aviv and have disappointed all your fans in Israel,” Dr. Gerberg writes. “Music is a wonderful language of tolerance and friendship, which brings people together. Your concert in Israel could have spread the message that solutions come from constructive engagement that leads to compromise and cooperation.”
The ambassador goes on to insist “music should unite not divide”, and claims “boycott and hate… represents hostility and intolerance”.
He continues, “I was sorry to see that you have succumbed to the supporters of a small fanatic group of BDS movement that denies the right of the State of Israel to exist and spreads hatred and animosity. I invite you to meet me in person to discuss Israel, its achievements and its role as the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Lorde, real name Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, has yet to respond to the meeting invitation.
She isn’t the first artist to rethink plans to play in Israel following calls from supporters of the BDS movement, which include musicians Roger Waters and former Roxy Music star Brian Eno.
They have previously won the backing of stars like Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill, and Thurston Moore, who have cancelled gigs in the country due to the increased pressure, although rockers Radiohead and Nick Cave recently defied BDS demands to scrap shows there as they do not agree with the cultural boycott.