Pop star Lorde’s decision to cancel her scheduled concert in Israel has sparked some fierce reactions, even if most of them were expected.
The 21-year-old New Zealand native’s move earned praise from proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, while a range of Israel supporters said her cancellation sends the wrong message.
Lorde is far from the first artist to take political considerations into account when deciding whether or not to perform in Israel. Here’s how some prominent ones dealt with the issue in 2017.
Ringo’s heading to Beatles-banning Israel
Ringo Starr will perform this summer in Israel more than 50 years after the nation’s government stopped the Beatles from performing there.
The upcoming tour for the ex-Beatle drummer’s group Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band includes a June 23 concert in Tel Aviv. Other stops on the tour, which was announced in November, include France, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Monaco and Italy.
In 1966, the Israeli government said the band could negatively influence the country’s youth. Israel later apologized for the decision.
Fellow former Beatle Paul McCartney performed in the Jewish state in 2008.
Radiohead performed in Israel
despite calls not to do so
Radiohead was hit with a flurry of criticism from both fans and high-profile artists when they scheduled a concert in Israel. But the English rock band chose to disregard a letter signed by boycott movement leaders and ended up playing their longest show in over a decade at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park in July. Thom Yorke, the group’s frontman, called those pushing a boycott “disrespectful.”
“You’re not bringing people together. You’re not encouraging dialogue or a sense of understanding,” he told Rolling Stone magazine.
Nick Cave performed in Israel
to take a stand against BDS
The somber Australian rocker performed with his band, The Bad Seeds, in Tel Aviv in November. He revealed at a press conference that he was motivated to perform there after being asked to sign onto an artists’ pledge to boycott Israel.
“[I]t suddenly became very important to me to make a stand against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians,” Cave said.
Boy George performed in Israel wearing a Star of David-emblazoned suit
The 1980s pop legend performed in Tel Aviv in November despite feeling the usual heat from BDS activists. At the concert, he wore a suit decorated with Stars of David and reportedly said: “When I go to Israel people say you shouldn’t go, you shouldn’t go. … I go where I like!” He also dismissed comparisons between apartheid South Africa and the Jewish state and tackled the issue through multiple tweets.
“I play for fans[,] not politicians,” he wrote.
Morrissey penned a song
bashing critics of Israel
The former Smiths frontman, never a stranger to controversy, didn’t play in the Jewish state this year (he last performed there in 2016), but he did show off some serious love for the Jewish state. He included a song titled “Israel,” in which he calls the country’s critics “jealous,” on his latest album, released in November.
On the track he sings: “In other climes, they bitch and whine/Just because you’re not like them … [T]hey who reign abuse upon you/ They are jealous of you as well.”
The 58-year-old rocker, who draped himself in an Israeli flag at a past show, also titled one of his new songs “The Girl From Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel.” The title is likely a reference to Etty Hillesum, a Dutch-Jewish diarist killed in Auschwitz, who referred to herself as the “girl who could not kneel.”