At least seven artists have dropped from Israel’s Meteor Festival’s line-up after urgings from pro-Palestinian groups to boycott the event as part of a peaceful demonstration against Israel's ongoing abuses and oppression against Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
South Africa’s Black Motion band announced their decision to drop from the September festival last Wednesday after Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa reached out to the pair of musicians asking them to abstain from participating in the upcoming festival.
The BDS movement said that, so far, seven artists have boycotted the multicultural event in protest of the Israeli state and the human rights abuses exercised against the Palestinian people. British house producer Felix Weatherall, also known as Ross From Friends, Lo-fi artist How to Dress Well, Dead Boy, as well Khalas & Zenobia are among the latest to announce their plans to reject the event.
However, despite urging from her fans and the pro-Palestine groups, singer Lana Del Rey shows no sign of canceling, after reaffirming her plans to perform on both Twitter and Instagram.
In a statement, the indie pop star defended her decision, saying it wasn’t a political move and she had decided to participate in the controversial concert as she believed "music is universal and should be used to bring us together."
"It’s 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 government’s opinions or sometimes inhuman actions,” she said.
To which Twitter user and Palestinian activist, Yousef Munayyer, responded, "When a civil society movement of oppressed people asks you not to play in the state that oppresses them and uses cultural performance to whitewash their image, rejecting their request *IS* a political statement and it is not one history will judge kindly."
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) tweeted, "We doubt you would have played in apartheid South Africa; likewise artists refuse to play in apartheid Israel.”
Del Rey, who was recently selected to headline the festival, remains adamant saying she believes her "loving energy can help shift the energetic vibration of a location for the higher good."
The BDS movement has organized a petition and continues to call on the musician to follow the example of "thousands of artists around the world" and boycott the event out of “respect" for Palestine’s "nonviolent picket line."
BDS is a non-violent movement inspired by the boycott campaigns against apartheid South Africa in the nineties. Despite Israel’s aggressive international lobbying to ensure BDS activists are sanctioned, in recent months Palestinians and the international solidarity movement have celebrated great victories.
High-profile artists like Shakira, Gilberto Gil, and Natalie Portman have refused to travel to Israel citing concerns over the current situation, while European cities like Barcelona and Florence have endorsed calls for an arms embargo against Israel.