26 Dec 2017

Lorde urged to reconsider Israel gig cancellation

9:17 am on 26 December 2017

Lorde is being urged to reconsider the cancellation of a controversial concert in Israel.

Lorde at the first show of her Australia/New Zealand tour in Dunedin.

Lorde at the first show of her Australia/New Zealand tour in Dunedin. Photo: Alex Lovell-Smith

New Zealand pop star Ella Yelich-O'Connor, known by the stage name Lorde, was set to play in Tel Aviv as part of her Melodrama tour.

However she pulled out of the concert scheduled for 5 June after she received criticism from some who claimed it would be seen as supporting Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Alluding to the title of Lorde's first album, Israel's culture minister Miri Regev said she should be a "pure heroine" of culture, void of any foreign political considerations.

Lorde is refunding fans who had bought tickets and said she didn't make the right call in agreeing to the show.

Other artists who have cancelled shows in Israel include Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill and Gorillaz.

Yesterday concert promoter Eran Arielli posted on Facebook that show had been cancelled but he had no complaints about Lorde.

"The truth is that I was naive to think that an artist of her age would contain the pressure involved in coming to Israel, and I take full responsibility and ask for the forgiveness of fans, admirers and other fantasizers," he wrote in Hebrew.

"I have no complaints about her, and even more, my assessment of her has not been affected by a millimetre.

"This is not the first cancellation we've experienced, nor the last one."

Earlier in the week Lorde responded to some of the backlash by tweeting that she was considering all her options and learning all the time.

Last week, New Zealand Palestinian Human Rights Campaign said Lorde's concert would be seen as an endorsement of the Israel government and its treatment of Palestinians.

Spokesperson Janfrie Wakim said the show would be in breach of a cultural boycott supported by 170 Palestinian groups.

"Playing there, performing there, would be seen to be breaking the boycott and so she will be seen to be supporting Israeli policy and that is something that we abhor.

Ms Wakim said very few Palestinians would be able to attend Lorde's concert.

"They can't even get to their religious sites from the West Bank or Gaza. Gaza is blocked off and the restrictions to enter Israel are extremely tight for West Bank Palestinians.

"Arabs who live in Israel may be able to go if they can afford it but they are discriminated in that country too."

Ms Wakim said a sporting and cultural boycott had been very effective in South Africa and Palestinians faced a similar regime in Israel.