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Lauryn Hill cancels Israeli concert after calls for boycott

May 5, 2015 at 10:30 am

African-American singer Lauryn Hill has cancelled her concert in Israel after coming under pressure from activists on social media.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) wrote an open letter to her explaining that “performing in Israel today is the equivalent of performing in Sun City South Africa during the apartheid era.” It also alerted that the performance, due to take place on 7 May “is a week before we Palestinians commemorate the catastrophe of 1948.”

A petition was also started by End the Occupation and an online campaign went viral using the hashtag #KillingMeSoftly, named after one of her most famous songs, alongside devastating pictures of Palestinian suffering in the hands of the Israeli occupation. Her songs were also parodied by activists.

Following her cancellation, she wrote a letter to her Israeli fans on Facebook saying: “When deciding to play the region, my intention was to perform in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Setting up a performance in the Palestinian Territory, at the same time as our show in Israel, proved to be a challenge.” She added that her trip was to also be in support of “justice and peace”.

Meanwhile, African Jews are facing their own struggle in Israel, as protests broke out last week inspired by the Baltimore struggle, demanding for greater rights and recognition as Jews and Israelis regardless of their heritage.