Lauryn Hill

Famous American performer Lauryn Hill cancels her appearance in Israel, citing complications in performing in both Ramallah and Tel Aviv. Did the boycott movement have anything to do with it?  

Only days before her scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, American R&B, soul and hip hop singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill announced that she had cancelled her show on Thursday, claiming it be logistically impossible to perform both for Israelis and for the Palestinians in Ramallah.

“When deciding to play the region, my intention was to perform in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah,” she wrote on Facebook to her “friend and fans in Israel” on Monday. “Setting up a performance in the Palestinian Territory, at the same time as our show in Israel, proved to be a challenge. I’ve wanted very much to bring our live performance to this part of the world, but also to be a presence supporting justice and peace.”

She stressed that it was “very important” to her that her presence [in the area] “not be misconstrued, or a source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans.”

“May healing, equanimity, and the openness necessary for lasting resolution and reconciliation come to this region and its people,” she said in conclusion.

Hill did not elaborate on the “challenges” she faced in setting up the Ramallah gig.

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams in Tel Aviv. ( Flash90)

She last performed in Israel in 2007.

It is suspected that Hill submitted to an anti-Israel campaign. The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement often exerts pressure on performers slated to appear in Israel to cancel their shows. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame has taken an active and public role, and he openly urges entertainers to refrain from appearing in Israel.

In February, some 700 British artists and performers signed a letter declaring their support for an initiative called “Artists for Palestine,” a cultural boycott on Israel, in reaction to what they termed “the Palestinian catastrophe.”

However, most performers do not buckle to the pressure and perform in Israel, including, for example, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, British rocker Alan Parsons, pop artist Taylor Swift and, most recently, Robbie Williams, who rocked Tel Aviv over the weekend.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel