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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Hundred artists sign letter supporting Lorde decision to cancel Tel Aviv concert

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and Genesis's Peter Gabriel, as well as actors John Cusack and Mark Ruffalo, are among the more than 100 influential artists who took to their keyboards to defend the young singer

The New Zealand singer-songwriter cancelled a concert in Israel. In response rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network took out the advertisement criticizing the singer. Ennio Leanza / EPA
The New Zealand singer-songwriter cancelled a concert in Israel. In response rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network took out the advertisement criticizing the singer. Ennio Leanza / EPA

Over 100 artists have signed an open letter in support of New Zealand-born singer-songwriter Lorde following a controversial decision to cancel her Tel Aviv concert and the backlash that ensued.

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and Genesis's Peter Gabriel, as well as actors John Cusack and Mark Ruffalo, are among the more than 100 influential artists who took to their keyboards to defend the young singer after she was publicly criticised in a scathing advertisement in the Washington Post.

The full-page black and white ad, taken out by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach named and shamed Lorde, calling her a "bigot" and accusing her and her native New Zealand of prejudice against Israel. It featured a photo of the singer superimposed over an image of men cradling infants while running through a war-torn city with the caption: "Lorde and New Zealand ignore Syria to attack Israel."

“We deplore the bullying tactics being used to defend injustice against Palestinians and to suppress an artist’s freedom of conscience. We support Lorde’s right to take a stand,” says the letter published in The Guardian. It added that Mr Boteach “has nothing to teach artists about human rights”.

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Rabbi Boteach, a vehement supporter of Israel's illegal settlements, took to Twitter to comment on the letter, saying: "so we got seriously under the skin of arch anti-Semite @rogerwaters. we will respond".

Mr Boteach also used the social media platform to call for financial support.

"Over 100 artists back Lorde for axing Israel show — Help us raise $100k 2 respond 2 BDS," he tweeted, referring to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has backed Lorde's decision to cancel her Tel Aviv show.

Israel on Sunday published a blacklist of 20 international organisations that promote a boycott campaign of Israel and whose members are now banned from entering the country. Many of the groups are affiliated with the BDS movement.

"We have shifted from defence to offence," strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan said. "The boycott organisations need to know that the state of Israel will act against them and not allow [them] to enter its territory to harm its citizens."

Lorde was scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on June 5, but cancelled the show just days after US president Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Singers, writers, choreographers and broadcasters were among the influential names that signed the letter supporting Lorde's right to cancel the show.