New Zealand singer Lorde was quoted in a recent Guardian article as saying, “I want to be Leonard Cohen,” so when my father, a life-long Cohen fan, heard about this and the reasons for the cancellation of the Tel Aviv leg of her world tour show which also involves two gigs in Russia, he dryly responded, “So instead she’s become Yasser Arafat!”
I think he was being facetious but I am not 100% sure in light of everything that has already been written on this topic and the publication of the singer’swishy-wishy explanation of her change of heart – said to have resulted from a letter penned by two New Zealanders, a Jew and a Palestinian, which presented a one-sided BDS style version of the conflict and was swallowed hook, line and sinker.
One could be forgiven for saying that the decision to cancel has received more attention than it deserves and to end it there but for the fact that several aspects of the bullying of the BDS movement and its distortion of the truth need to be challenged.
A growing number of artists are resisting the pressure put on them to cancel performances in Israel. They include Radiohead and Nick Cave (who both made a point last year of speaking out against the BDS movement), Rihanna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Kygo, Elton John, Chainsmokers, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Morrissey, Queen, Kanye West, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber and even the Pixies, who years ago became the poster children of the BDS movement when they cancelled a show in 2010 after the Mavi Marmara incident, but then came back in 2014 and performed in Israel again last year. Moreover, the hypocrisy of the boycotters was highlighted earlier this year when it was revealed that films by and involving noted BDSers were being exhibited in Tel Aviv.
Mind you, hypocrisy is what is at the forefront here when an artist who prides herself on “being informed” shuns Israel but will still perform twice in Russia which occupies parts of the Ukraine, oppresses its minorities including Moslems and its LGBT people and bolsters up Syria’s Assad regime which drops chemical weapons on the heads of its own people and is responsible for half a million dead and from which millions have fled in the past decade. One wonders where were the letters urging her not to go there or even not to return to her native New Zealand because of its past treatment of the indigenous population?
But the thing that really prompted me to write now was a nasty item that appeared on my Facebook news feed from Junkee where journalist Sam Langford tried to explain Lorde’s decision telling readers that the conflict had a “complex history” before proceeding to simplify it for them by telling far less than half of the story, putting it out of context and ignoring the bulk of the true history of the conflict.
Read the full opinion peace by Emily Gian at the Zionist Federation of Australia website.