More than 100 artists have signed an open letter supporting Lorde's decision to cancel a show in Tel Aviv, Israel and criticizing a controversial US rabbi who called the 21-year-old singer a "bigot" in a full-page ad at the Washington Post last week. Musicians including Brian Eno, Talib Kweli, Kathleen Hanna, Tom Morello, Peter Garbiel, and Roger Waters are listed as signatories on the letter, which was published both by Artists for Palestine and The Guardian.
Lorde confirmed on December 24 that she was cancelling her Tel Aviv show. Though she didn't mention the the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement—which aims to increase political and economic pressure on Israel for its occupation of Palestinian territory—by name in her statement, she made her motives for cancelling clear. "I pride myself on being an informed young citizen," she said, "and I had done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions before deciding to book a show in Tel Aviv, but I'm not too proud to admit I didn't make the right call on this one."
The backlash was swift if a little patchy. Comedian and actress Roseanne Barr, best known for starring in the 1990s sitcom Roseanne, called Lorde a "bigot" on Twitter. Then, on December 31, American rabbi Shmuley Boteach took out a full-page advert in the Washington Post to call Lorde a "bigot" again. Boteach—who refers to himself as America's Rabbi, considers Ted Cruz to be "a lot of fun," and counts former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon among his friends—had already denounced Lorde on Bannon's alt-right website Breitbart.
The letter defending the singer, published on Friday, briefly makes note of Boteach's involvement with Breitbart.
"Shmuley Boteach, the author and promoter of the advert, supports Israel’s illegal settlements and wrote last month on Breitbart to thank Donald Trump for “electrifying the world” with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in defiance of international law," the letter read.
"He has nothing to teach artists about human rights," it continued. "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."
Follow Alex Robert Ross on Twitter.