We get it; we understand. You made the most normal announcement, like performers everywhere do all the time. You’ll be performing another concert, for thousands of your fans, regular people, who happen to love you, somewhere in the world. The concert can be anywhere. No one would mind, no one would care. Your local fans would be happily buying tickets, counting down the days to the big performance, and the rest of the world would just do its thing.
Unless…. unless the concert announced is to be in Israel. Suddenly, it’s anything but normal. One moment you’re an artist sharing your work with your fans, looking forward to visiting a new country; the next moment you are pushed up against a virtual wall, called names, harassed to no end, bombarded by calls to cancel the show. It’s as if sharks have always lurking around quietly, swimming just beneath the surface, waiting for that ‘moment’ to attack; the moment ‘Israel’ is added to a performer’s concert schedule.
You probably didn’t even know what hit you. You thought you were doing something as simple as sharing your music with your fans. But, no. Performing in Israel, you are told, is, at best, endorsing an apartheid state. At worst, it’s supporting human rights violations, brutality and ethnic cleansing. For dozens of musicians, this scene has played out over and over.
Of course you must have known it was going to happen. How could you not? You can just mention ‘Israeli food’ and get slammed on social media. Look at poor Rachael Ray.
This happens to each mainstream performer that plans a show in Israel. Yes. Every. Single. Time. Whether or not you knew, surely you had no idea what the pressure would truly be like. Would truly FEEL like. How righteous they would sound when they insisted on a cultural boycott of Israel. How relentless they would be when they insisted that you punish all of the people of Israel – Arabs and Jews alike – in their misguided demands. Because, dear Lorde, punishing the people of Israel is the only thing you are doing. Oh, and rewarding the boycotters…
Why are their demands misguided? Lorde, I’m surely not the first to tell you that the disputes and challenges in Israel are very real and very complex. If they were easy to solve, they would have been. Anyone who takes the approach that this is a black and white situation with a good side and a bad side clearly does not understand the conflict – nor could they have a peaceable solution in mind.
Whether or not you change your mind, now or some time in the future, as long as this has started you owe it to yourself and to the many fans you have turned your back on to learn – truly learn – what is happening here. Something does not become any more true no matter how many people tweet about it. You should know that.
You’ve been told that the State of Israel stands for oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid. Perhaps a host of other evil things. The reality is that the State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and all of its citizens – Jews, Muslims and Christians – enjoy equal rights. Please reread that last sentence… it’s an important one.
And yes, Israel has built a security fence. But it doesn’t create separation based on ethnicity or religion. Rather it is meant only to prevent terrorists from entering Israel. And it’s worked…
And about those terrorists… The conflict and Palestinian acts of terror against Jews in Israel started a long time before Israel took control of the territories.
I’m not angry at you Lorde. I’m just sad to tell you that you have been manipulated just like millions of others. You see, singling out Israel allows the manipulators to win and does absolutely nothing to resolve the conflict.
It’s also important that you understand that most people who live in Israel are innocent people who just want to live in peace and quiet and do all the things that everyone likes to do.
Performing here in Israel makes the statement that you love your fans no matter where they live, no matter their religion or ethnicity, no matter what challenges their countries are facing.
NOT performing here in Israel means capitulating to BDS, an organization that is lauded by Hamas (recognized as a terror organization by the State Department and countries around the world) as serving their purposes. Think about that…
On the other hand, performing in Israel means that you have the guts and strength to stand up to a wide-reaching, forceful campaign of hate. Not an easy thing to do, I imagine. But one that Boy George, Radiohead, Aerosmith, Sia, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and many others have withstood.
Please give us the Green Light, Lorde. Don’t leave us in A World Alone…
An Israeli fan
Laura Ben-David is a marketing consultant, photographer and social media activist. Originally from New York, the popular writer and speaker made Aliyah from Florida. Laura’s subjects of choice include Israel, Aliyah & social media – and sometimes all three at once.