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Under BDS pressure, 15 bands pull out of Israeli festival

American musician Henry Laufer, known by his stage name Shlohmo [MAN/Facebook]
American musician Henry Laufer, known by his stage name Shlohmo [MAN/Facebook]

Up to 15 international bands and artists have so far announced that they are pulling out of Israel’s Meteor Festival under pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Arab48.com reported on Sunday.

Some of the musicians cancelled because they feared that their participation would beautify the Israeli occupation. Others did not give a reason, in case they are prevented by pro-Israel pressure from performing in festivals elsewhere.

American singer Lana Del Rey, who had refused to cancel her performance at the festival because her visit “is not a political statement”, has also backed away from the festival.

In a statement on Twitter the singer wrote: “It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such short notice and therefore I’m postponing my appearance.”

Adding that she was “postponing” her appearance “until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans”.

The festival is scheduled to take place in the Upper Galilee on 5 September. Critics say that it is funded by the Israeli government in order to gloss over its brutal military occupation of Palestine.

American musician Henry Laufer, known by his stage name Shlohmo, announced on Twitter on Saturday the cancellation of his planned appearance at the Israeli festival. “Sorry for short notice but I will NOT be playing in Israel next week,” he wrote. “Sorry to the fans I’m letting down and to the festival staff but supporting the oppressed thru my absence is more important to me especially after the government’s recent human rights atrocities.”

Read: Supporting BDS, Volvox, DJ Python pull out of Meteor Festival in Israel

In answer to his fans who oppose his withdrawal from the festival lineup, Shlohmo explained: “I had said no to playing there for years and the only reason I could find to say yes was if I were to donate my fee to Gaza relief. But after much dialogue I found it to be a more important statement to say no altogether than to donate. I hope you can understand this decision.”

Urging others to “explore the issue,” he added: “I know that just as in America there is a huge population of Israelis who protest the state policies + support Palestinians. Those are the ppl I hoped to play for, but the more I dwell on the issue the more I can’t justify going.”

Illustration depicting Israel’s Meteor Festival

An illustration calling for the boycott of Israel’s Meteor Festival

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