“It’s important for me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” Del Rey wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such short notice and therefore I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans.”
Del Rey was slated to be the headliner at the Meteor Festival this weekend at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan in Israel’s North. Since the festival was announced, the artists have been under pressure from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel to cancel their participation. Del Rey was slated to play a concert in Israel in 2014, but canceled the show amid Operation Protective Edge.
Two weeks ago, Del Rey took to social media to affirm that she would attend the festival despite the BDS pressure.
“I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together,” the American singer/songwriter wrote at the time. “Performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there just as singing here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment [with] my current governments [sic] opinions.”
Del Rey is the most high-profile artist to cancel her participation in the Meteor Festival, which has a lineup of more than 100 musicians, including rapper Pusha T, DJ Flying Lotus and jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington.
Festival spokeswoman Liat Turgeman, of the Naranjah production company, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday, “This is a festival with more than 130 international and local artists, and the number of cancellations is not significant or dramatic in relation to the amount of participating artists.”
Turgeman added, “Despite the difficulties, we are sufficiently determined and excited to overcome them and to begin in a few days with a festival that we have worked very hard on for almost a year.”
In addition to Del Rey, a handful of other lesser-known acts have canceled in recent weeks, including Shanti Celeste, DJ Python, DJ Volvox, DJ Seinfeld and local Arab groups Zenobia and Khalas. The festival added British DJs Secretsundaze and Dan Shake last week after some of the cancellations.
On Saturday, Roger Waters, a longtime BDS activist who had pushed Del Rey to cancel, turned his sights on Kamasi Washington.
“I had assumed it would be a given that you would cancel,” Waters wrote on Facebook. “I love your work.... Given that Lana Del Rey has now canceled, you are the only notable standout. Please don’t play the Meteor Festival. To do so would be a betrayal of everyone who ever stood up for civil or human rights anywhere.”
Turgeman told the Post on Saturday that other high-profile acts like Washington, Pusha T and A$AP Ferg were “definitely” still attending. She also said that despite many reports to the contrary, the festival had not received any cancellation notice from South African group Black Motion.
Black Motion has not responded to multiple phone calls and messages from the Post.
Festival organizers said on Saturday that anyone who wished for a refund could request one until Wednesday.
Last Friday, Eran Arieli, the founder of Naranjah, wrote that the festival is a completely independent, politics-free event.
“We built this event brick by brick by ourselves, asking or receiving no support, funds or benefits from any governmental or political entity,” he wrote. “Our agenda is and has always been peace, coexistence, equality and our only aim is to bring people of all kinds together through the common love for music and art.”
Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.