Lana Del Rey is moving ahead with plans to play Israel in September — and some powerful music industry executives got her back.
Last week, Digital Music News broke the news that Lana Del Rey had agreed to play the Meteor Festival, situated in the Galilee region of northern Israel. The festival will represent the first time Del Rey has played in the country, a move that ruffled the feathers of numerous anti-Israeli activists.
That included Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who urged Del Rey to back out of the gig. In a Facebook post, Waters criticized Del Rey for engaging in “a political act in support of the apartheid state” and “choosing the side of the oppressor”. Elsewhere, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign convinced South Africa’s Black Motion to pull out of the event, though headliners like ASAP Ferg, Of Montreal, and Kamasi Washington seem unmoved.
The same is true for Lana Del Rey, who maintained that the show was apolitical. “What I can tell you is I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together,” Del Rey stated. “We don’t always agree with the politics of the places we play within or even in our own country.”
But after the exchange with Waters, Lana Del Rey agreed to modify her itinerary to the Middle East by separately playing in Palestine. Of course, that move engendered its own backlash, with Del Rey appearing calm during the growing storm.
Now, more than 50 prominent music and entertainment industry executives are backing Lana Del Rey.
In an open letter shared with Digital Music News today (August 23rd), the coalition publicly supported the booking and countered Waters’ protests. The group, called ‘Creative Community for Peace,’ issued the letter with signatures from notable executives like Donald Passman (attorney at Gang, Tyre, Ramer, & Brown), Daniel Glass (president & founder of Glassnote Entertainment Group), Gery Gersh (president of Global Talent at AEG Presents), and David Levy (partner & co-head atWilliam Morris Endeavor Entertainment).
Here’s the full letter…
Los Angeles, CA (August 23, 2018) – We at Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) applaud Lana Del Rey and the other artists scheduled to perform at the upcoming Meteor Festival in northern Israel, and commend Lana for her principled stand in the face of calls to cancel her performance.
As she wrote in response to those pressuring her to cancel her show in solidarity with the attempted cultural boycott of Israel, “Music is universal and should be used to bring us together.” We could not agree more.
As professionals in the entertainment industry, we know that music and the arts in general can transcend differences in race, religion, or politics and connect us on a deeper human level. Art can reflect and explore those forces that divide us, but it should never become subservient to them. And frankly, the more than 30,000 people who have signed our anti-boycott petition agree.
Unfortunately, the boycott Israel movement is working tirelessly to subjugate art to politics, portraying every concert in Israel as a political act and thereby holding musicians hostage to their narrow agenda — while the founders of the boycott movement have also stated their belief in the Palestinian right of self-determination while denying Israel’s right to the same.
Those of us who care about peace must not allow the boycott movement to succeed in using art as a weapon to keep people apart instead of using it as a tool to bring them together. We believe in building bridges, not boycotts.
We also agree with Lana Del Rey’s point that performing in a particular country doesn’t indicate support for the government of that country. Further, the criticism many boycott activists level against Israel is inflammatory and filled with misinformation. The charges of ‘apartheid’ and ‘genocide,’ which boycott activists make on social media, are completely devoid of fact.
We are confident that Lana Del Rey and the other artists scheduled to appear at the Meteor Festival, including Pusha T, Flying Lotus, A$AP Ferg, and many others, will have a fantastic time connecting with the diverse audiences at their shows.
They, like the hundreds of artists who have performed in Israel in recent years, such as the Rolling Stones, Jon Bon Jovi, Radiohead, Ziggy Marley, Nick Cave, Carlos Vives, and so many others will see people from all walks of life (and religions) sing and dance together in peace.
Head of Brand Strategy and Business Development, Habana Avenue
President ,Orly Adelson Productions
CEO, Tomorrow Studios
Partner, Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman
Co-founder, Razor & Tie Entertainment
Partner & Head of Music, Simons Muirhead & Burton
Global head of A&R a Warner Music Group
President, Blue Note Entertainment Group
Senior Television Agent, Creative Artists Agency
Joshua P. Binder
Partner, Davis Shapiro & Lewit etal.
Partner, Ziffren Brittenham, LLP
President of Clic Entertainment
Senior VP Legal & Business Affairs, The Madison Square Garden Company
Chairman/CEO, Downtown Records
Partner, Entertainment and Media, Paul Hastings LLP
Record Producer & CEO, Faircraft Inc.
Entertainment Industry Executive
Principal, Krasnoff Foster Productions
Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer, The Recording Academy/GRAMMYs on the Hill
Red Light Management
President & Founder, Glassnote Entertainment Group
President, Global Talent, A.E.G. Presents
Executive VP of Corporate Marketing & Communications, Time Warner Inc.
Founder & CEO, Edge Group
Trudy Green Management/HK Management
Partner & Co-Head, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
President, Geffen Records
President Repertoire & Marketing, U.S., BMG
Co-President, Sony/ATV Music Publishing
CEO, JEM Artists
CEO, Oasis Media Group
President of Unrestricted
Donald S. Passman
Partner, Gang, Tyre, Ramer, & Brown, Inc.
Manager at C3 Presents
Chairman/CEO, Spirit Music Group
Founder & President, Lyric Culture
Co-Founder & Head of Television, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
Senior Chair of the New York Entertainment & Media Practice, Greenberg Traurig LLC
Worldwide Executive & Music President, Electronic Arts
Partner, Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency
Chairman & Co-CEO, Propagate Content
Chairman & CEO, Mobilium Global Limited
SVP Artist and Repertoire at Warner Music Group
Partner, Greenberg Traurig LLP
President of Co-Star Entertainment/Israelife Media Group
President, APM Music
Sharon Tal Yguado
Head of Event Series at Amazon
*Please note that all companies are listed for affiliation only.