June 25, 2018 / 10:08 AM

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Violence in Israel Threatens Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey and Backstreet Boys Concerts


Even though we write primarily about music, it's impossible to ignore the major events going on in the "real" world. The recent flare-up of violence in Israel threatens to take a toll on the nation's concert and television industries. 

Concerts first: Israel is having a relatively epic year for hosting musicians, as acts such as The Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake and The Prodigy have already swung by for huge concerts in Tel Aviv. The rest of the summer's schedule is just as impressive: Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Cee Lo Green and the Backstreet Boys all have gigs lined up for then ear future. Cancellation for any of the dates would result in huge losses. Backstreet sold out its first concert so easily that it scheduled an additional two dates, which are also at risk. 

Israeli concert promoters and fans have to be wary of the effect of local tensions on shows. The country went to war with Lebanon during 2006, a move that resulted in the cancellation of a Depeche Mode concert more than a year in the making. 

For the time being, no act has opted to pull out of its dates in Israel. The Neil Young and Crazy Horse concert scheduled for next week "will happen as planned" according to the promoter, and a show headlined by the Brian Jonestown Massacre will also continue. 

Some performers, including Stevie Wonder, Talib Kweli and Jello Biafra have all vowed not to play Israel, more so out of solidarity than safety issues. 

The first event during 2014 that inspired a wave of concert cancellations was Russia's invasion of the Crimean region of Ukraine. Some acts cited personal safety and some cited a disagreement with Moscow's foreign policies, but many dropped out of performances. 

The current strife in Israel began when the bodies of three kidnapped Jewish bodies were found near Hebron, resulting in military strikes from the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, and rocket attacks from Palestinian forces in the area. Social unrest over the incident has also led to acts of violence being perpetrated by mobs in public areas.  

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