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'Equality over apartheid': Lana Del Rey cancels Israel concert

After initially saying Tel Aviv show is not political statement, pop singer scraps show
Pro-Palestine groups thanked Del Rey's 'principled decision' (AFP)

American pop star Lana Del Rey on Friday cancelled a concert in Israel, citing her inability to perform for Palestinian fans.

Del Rey had faced criticism from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement over her decision to perform in Israel. She initially resisted the pressure while acknowledging grievances of Palestinian rights supporters.

"It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally," she wrote in a statement posted on twitter.

Earlier this month, the singer said she understands fans' concerns about her show in Israel, but she insisted that "playing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement". She said then that performing in Israel is not an endorsement of its government's policies.

However, the singer made a U-turn a week before the scheduled concert.

BDS activists say the movement is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime and is seeking an end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

Proponents of the cultural boycott against Israel argue that it serves as a reminder to Israelis of their government’s mistreatment of Palestinians, and that it pressures Israel to reconsider policies that infringe on Palestinian rights, including the occupation.

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) thanked Del Rey for her "principled decision" on Friday.

Jewish Voice for Peace also hailed the singer for choosing "equality over apartheid".

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, who is an outspoken supporter of BDS, had urged Del Rey to cancel her show, arguing against her assertion that her performance was not political.

"Palestine is a unique situation in that the BDS picket line exists at the request of Palestine civil society as a whole," he wrote on Facebook on 21 August, addressing Del Rey.

"To respect it as I, and many others do, is a political act of support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for basic human rights. To cross it, conversely, is a political act in support of the apartheid state that would deny them those basic human rights."

Late last year, New Zealand singer Lorde also cancelled her appearance in Israel, saying she did not make the right call by scheduling the concert in the first place.

"I've received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show," Lorde said in a statement at the time.

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