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Lauryn Hill cancels Israel concert

Ms. Hill has recently come under pressure to cancel her tour to the region.
SINGER LAURYN HILL performs at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival California in 2011. BDS activists are pressuring Hill to cancel her upcoming performance in Israel, scheduled for this Thursday.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

American hip-hop singer Lauryn Hill has cancelled her upcoming May 7th performance in Rishon Lezion, she announced on Monday.

“When deciding to play the region, my intention was to perform in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah,” the R&B hitmaker said on her website. “Setting up a performance in the Palestinian Territory, at the same time as our show in Israel, proved to be a challenge.”

Ms. Hill was scheduled to rock the stage this Thursday at the Rishon Lezion Park Live Amphitheater, but has recently come under pressure to cancel her tour to the region. In a recent statement, the Israel show’s producers have acknowledged receiving messages from Hill’s camp about her desire to cancel, but have said that despite pressure, they will continue to take every possible measure to ensure the show will go on.

The ‘Killing Me Softly’ songstress told fans on Monday that while she was very excited about bringing “our live performance to this part of the world,” she also wants to support justice and peace. “It is very important to me that my presence or message not be misconstrued, or a source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans,” she said. That is why “we have decided to cancel the upcoming performance in Israel, and seek a different strategy to bring my music to ALL of my fans in the region.”

She ended her message, which was addressed to her “Dear Friends and Fans in Israel” and was also shared on Facebook, on a hopeful note: “May healing, equanimity, and the openness necessary for lasting resolution and reconciliation come to this region and its people.”

A tweet last month by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation read: [email protected] 11,000 people asking you to boycott Israel. Please respect Palestinian call.” In an action alert, the US Campaign said that “the presence of artists is routinely used by Israel to legitimize its policies and maintain its reputation as a normal member of the international community.” The group has continued to coax followers to join the campaign demanding that Hill boycott Israel and cancel her show.

Alongside these efforts, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) has been putting added pressure on Hill by creating a widespread social media campaign incorporating memes, hashtags and a YouTube video.

Appropriating the early-’90’s Fugees hit “Killing Me Softly,” BDS pulled out all the stops: an online petition, a #KillingMeSoftly hashtag, a meme depicting an image of Lauryn Hill with the words “Hey Lauren You’re #KillingMeSoftly,” as well as a video of pro-Palestinian activists singing their version of the hit song.

On Friday, the famed ex-Fugees superstar was set to perform in Lagos, Nigeria, but bowed out after travel delays forced her to cancel. She has since apologized by filming an acoustic version of her pop classic “Doo Wop (That Thing),” titled “A Message to Nigeria from Ms Lauryn Hill.”


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