Howard Stern Criticizes Lorde for Israel Concert Boycott

The singer's decision to cancel a Tel Aviv show continues to cause contoversy.

Lorde performing in Melbone, Australia.

Image via Getty/Sam Tabone

Lorde performing in Melbone, Australia.

Lorde's decision to cancel a show in Israel has earned her praise from figures like Brian Eno and Roger Waters, but there's also been plenty of blow back and criticism from prominent pro-Israel figures and media members—including Roseanne Barr and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, executive director of the World Values Network. The latest to speak out against the pop star is Howard Stern, who did not mince words during a January 3 segment on his radio show, calling her a "shithead."

"She has no problem with Russia," Stern said. "The only place in the world she can't play is Israel. So, what do you think's going on? What's the one thing about Israel that's different than all other places? You know, there's Jews there." 

Stern and his co-hosts labeled Lorde a one-hit wonder, pointing out that she has no issue playing shows in Russia despite their influence on the U.S. election and their role "planting all kinds of problems around the world, all kinds of terrorism."

Lorde announced her plan to perform in Israel on December 18, and received public pressure to cancel the appearance, including blowback from fellow New Zealanders. She announced her decision to cancel the show on December 24 following pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, among other figures. Her statement was later shared on Twitter by the Jerusalem Post's Amy Spiro.

Here is @Lorde's statement on the cancellation of her Tel Aviv show, via Israeli PR for the concert.

— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) December 24, 2017

In the same thread, Spiro noted that artists including Rihanna, Kanye West, and Justin Timberlake have all performed in Tel Aviv in recent years.

"I hope Lorde has a good time in Russia, and quite frankly I think it's amazing that Lorde can sell out a concert anywhere," Stern later added.

The Israeli ambassador to Lorde's native New Zealand responded to the singer's decision in an open letter on Facebook.

"Music is a wonderful language of tolerance and friendship, which brings people together. Your concert in Israel could have spread the message that solutions come from constructive engagement that leads to compromise and cooperation," wrote Dr. Itzkah Gerberg, who invited Lorde to meet with him in person and discuss the country's role in the Middle East.

Eran Arielli, the founder of the concert organizer who had booked Lorde's Tel Aviv show, and responded on Facebook once the decision to cancel the show was announced.

"The truth is that I was naive to think that an artist of her age can withstand the pressure involved in coming to Israel, and I take full responsibility and ask the forgiveness of fans, admirers, and other dreamers," Arielli wrote according to a translation from Hebrew on CNN.