We — the undersigned artists and entertainment industry executives — are deeply disappointed that Lorde canceled her show in Tel Aviv after receiving pressure from the radical boycott Israel movement. Artists should never become beholden to the political views of a small but loud minority.
The boycott movement, while often painting itself as a movement for human rights, is actually a political movement ultimately aiming to extinguish the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. Ignoring the many flaws in the other countries on Lorde’s world tour (including the US, the UK, and Russia), the movement singled out Israel — and only Israel — for a boycott.
Over the past several years, many artists have come under the same pressure Lorde faced from this boycott group over the past week. Some have canceled their shows, but the vast majority — many hundreds, in fact — have stood strong. Recently, several artists have spoken out loudly and forcefully against the divisive, polarizing, and dictatorial nature of the boycott Israel movement.
“All of this creates divisive energy,” Thom Yorke of Radiohead said in June in response to the pressure he was receiving from boycott groups. “You’re not bringing people together. You’re not encouraging dialogue or a sense of understanding.”
The boycott movement is certainly not encouraging real dialogue or a sense of understanding. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite. The boycott movement has come out as a strong opponent of real dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, even going so far as to denounce projects that work to bring young Israelis and Palestinians together through music.
“The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white,” Thom said. “I have a problem with that.”
Indeed, the entire narrative and worldview of the anti-Israel boycott movement is one that’s black or white, with no room for the shades of grey inherent in the immensely complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In their view, Israel is wrong and that’s the end of the story. As reasonable people realize, however, it is not quite that simple.
Artists are given a choice by boycott activists; either accept the entirety of the boycott narrative, which includes shockingly extreme and false accusations against Israel utilizing inflammatory language such as “apartheid” and “genocide,” and even comparing Israel’s actions to that of Nazi Germany, or become a target of relentless pressure and bullying.
“It suddenly became very important to make a stand against those people that are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians, and to silence musicians,” Nick Cave said recently about his decision to perform in Israel in the face of boycott wrath.
Lorde became the target of that wrath, and we’re deeply disappointed that rather than rebuff the boycott movement and follow in the footsteps of Radiohead, Nick Cave, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, and many other artists who have chosen to build #BridgesNotBoycotts, she canceled her show.
We, the undersigned, and the more than thirty thousand people who have signed our anti-boycott petition, will continue to work for a more peaceful future for Palestinians, Israelis, and the entire region. We truly believe that art and music can and should be part of the solution.
Jason Adelman, head of brand strategy and business development, Habana Avenue
Orly Adelson, president of Orly Adelson Productions
Marty Adelstein, CEO of Tomorrow Studios
Craig Balsam, co-founder of Razor & Tie Entertainment
Richard Baskind, partner and head of music at Simons Muirhead & Burton
Aton Ben-Horin, global head of A&R a Warner Music Group
Steven Bensusan, president of Blue Note Entertainment Group
Adam Berkowitz, co-head of the television department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Josh Binder, Davis Shapiro & Lewit LLP
David Byrnes, partner of Ziffren, Brittenham, LLP
Civia Caroline, president of Clic Entertainment
Josh Deutsch, chairman/CEO of Downtown Records
David Draiman, musician
Craig Emanuel, partner of Loeb & Loeb LLP
Ron Fair, record producer and former chief creative officer and executive vp of Virgin Americans
Marc Fineman, founder and CEO of FINE
Erica Forster, vp of music partnerships at DanceOn
Gary Foster, principal of Krasnoff Foster Productions
Andrew Genger, Red Light Entertainment
Gary Gersh, president of global talent at AEG Presents
Jody Gerson, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group
Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of corporate marketing and communications of Time Warner Inc.
Daniel Glass, president and founder of Glassnote Entertainment Group
David Glick, founder and CEO of Edge Group
Trudy Green, Trudy Green Management/HK Management
Larry Katz, entertainment attorney
Zach Katz, chief creative officer of BMG Chrysalis, North America
Amanda Kogan, WME
Rick Krim, west coast president of Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Colin Lester, CEO of JEM Artists
David Levy, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME)
David Lonner, CEO of Oasis Media Group
Ben Maddahi, president of Unrestricted
Scott Packman, esquire
Donald S. Passman, partner of Gang, Tyre, Ramer, and Brown, Inc.
Dean Raise, manager at C3 Presents
David Renzer, chairman of Spirit Music Group and former chairman/CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group
Hanna Rochelle, founder and president of Lyric Culture
Rick Rosen, head of the television department at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME)
Steve Schnur, worldwide executive and music president of Electronic Arts
Sam Schwartz, co-principal of Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency
Ben Silverman, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Propagate Content
Ralph Simon, chairman & chief executive officer of Mobilium Global Limited
Jeff Sosnow, SVP artist and reportoire at Warner Music Group
Gary Stiffelman, partner of Greenberg Traurig LLP
Aaron Symonds, film composer
Traci Szymanski, president of Co-Star Entertainment/Isrealife Media Group
Adam Taylor, president of APM Music.
Sharon Tal Yguado, head of event series at Amazon
Please note that all organizations are listed for affiliation only.