TEL AVIV – More than 100 artists penned an open letter published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper Friday in support of New Zealand pop singer Lorde, who succumbed to pressure from anti-Israel activists and cancelled her scheduled performance in the Jewish state.
The letter comes after Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Values Network organization took out a full page ad in the Washington Post charging Lorde with being a “bigot” and slamming the 21-year-old singer for caving to pressure from “a global anti-Semitic boycott of Israel” by cancelling her June 5 gig.
“Lorde and New Zealand ignore Syria to attack Israel,” the ad continued.
The artists who signed Friday’s letter include American author Alice Walker, English actress Julie Christie, English director Ken Loach and English musician and infamous anti-Israel boycott leader and former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.
“Shmuley Boteach, the author and promoter of the advert, supports Israel’s illegal settlements and wrote last month on Breitbart to thank Donald Trump for ‘electrifying the world’ with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in defiance of international law,” the artists wrote in the letter.
“He has nothing to teach artists about human rights. We deplore the bullying tactics being used to defend injustice against Palestinians and to suppress an artist’s freedom of conscience. We support Lorde’s right to take a stand,” the letter added.
Loach has come under fire for hypocrisy by making money from screenings of his films in Israel while at the same time advocating a cultural boycott of the Jewish state.
Lorde said she received a barrage of criticism for planning an Israel tour date.
“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.
“I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one. I’m truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you.”
Boteach noted that Lorde was a hypocrite for playing shows in Russia, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support of the Assad regime in Syria.
“While Lorde claims to be concerned with human rights she hypocritically chose to proceed with her two concerts in Putin’s Russia, despite his support for Assad’s genocidal regime which has already claimed the lives of over 500,000 innocents, and Russia’s own endless litany of human rights abuses,” the text read.
“Lorde joined a global anti-Semitic boycott of Israel but will perform in Russia, despite Putin’s support for Assad’s genocide in Syria,” Boteach wrote. “Let’s boycott the boycotter and tell Lorde and her fellow bigots that Jew-hatred has no place in the twenty-first century.”
He also noted New Zealand’s anti-Israel bias.
“Sadly, New Zealand’s growing prejudice against the Jewish State seems to be trickling down to its youth,” the ad said. Lorde had “joined the anti-Semitic BDS movement, which seeks the economic annihilation of the Jewish state, by cancelling her scheduled concert in Tel Aviv.”
Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev urged Lorde to reinstate the Tel Aviv performance.
“Lorde, I’m hoping you can be a ‘pure heroine,’ like the title of your first album. To be a heroine of pure culture, free from any foreign – and ridiculous – political considerations,” Regev said.