GOP lawmaker wants Lorde’s Florida concerts canceled because of involvement with BDS movement – Florida Politics

GOP lawmaker wants Lorde’s Florida concerts canceled because of involvement with BDS movement

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lorde is scheduled to perform in Tampa and Miami this April, but one Republican lawmaker says her shows should be canceled due to her involvement in the BDS movement.

BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Israel government for its treatment of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The 21-year-old’s involvement in the movement became known in December, when she cancelled a concert scheduled to take place in Israel this spring.

Palm Bay Republican Randy Fine says that under Florida law, no state or local government can conduct business exceeding $1 million with any organization engaged in a boycott of Israel.

“Florida has no tolerance for anti-Semitism and boycotts intended to destroy the State of Israel,” said Fine. “That’s why Florida passed groundbreaking anti-BDS legislation several years ago and why, along with Senator Jeff Brandes, I have proposed strengthening that legislation this year. Current statutes are clear – local governments cannot do business with companies that participate in anti-Semitic boycotts of Israel. When Lorde joined the boycott in December, she and her companies became subject to that statute.

Fine insists that, “the taxpayers of Miami and Tampa should not have to facilitate bigotry and anti-Semitism, and I look forward to the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority and the Tampa Sports Authority complying with the law and cancelling these concerts.”

Lorde is scheduled to perform at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Wednesday, April 11 and at the American Airlines Theater in Miami on Thursday, April 12.

Calls to the Tampa Sports Authority and the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority were not returned for comment.

The BDS movement originated on college campuses in the U.S. in the early aughts. It is extremely controversial, with pro-Israel organizations accusing the movement of being fueled by anti-Semitism.

Lorde’s decision to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv made her the latest artist to cancel an Israel concert following pressure from the BDS movement, joining Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Thurston Moore, Lauryn Hill and more. Not all popular artists agree obviously. Both Radiohead and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds went ahead with planned shows in Israel last year, despite fierce criticism from the BDS-aligned artists.

Both Fine and Brandes were in session in the Legislature on Thursday afternoon and were also not available to comment.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at


  1. I hope that State Rep. Fine succeeds in his mission. The BDS movement is born of hate and antisemitism and has no place in Florida or anywhere for that matter. If Lorde is going to back that movement, she is not welcome here. I’m glad that our state passed laws regarding the BDS; now they need to be strictly enforced.

  2. The BDS movement has significant and growing support on US campuses but it did not originate there as the article states. Rather it originated in Palestine, in consultation with South African human rights activists who were involved in the boycott movement to stop apartheid in their country. Whether or not you agree Israel is continuing to violate Palestinian human rights and international laws, the idea that you should shut down a concert by a singer who has decided not to play Israel after a letter from a Jewish woman and a Palestinian woman in New Zealand is ridiculous. As a recent ruling in a federal court against a Kansas law that attempted to discriminate against a Mennonite teacher who supports BDS state, boycotts are protected by the constitution. It’s an obvious question of free speech. I suspect donor dollars have something to do with the moves of Randy Fine and Senator Jeff Brandes. Lorde made a considered moral decision to support in a non-violent way the just struggle of Palestinians. Shame on any politician that wants to shut down such democratic means to achieve justice.

          1. In any debate that kind of rebuttal isn’t very helpful. I could give the reasons I think I’m well-informed and say that you’re biassed and ill-informed and we could bicker and none of us would be the wiser, given that we know we began in disagreement… that’s what most online debate seems to involve.

            I’m more interested to know if you think it’s a good idea that these lawmakers are trying to stop Lorde performing and your reasons. I see it’s making quite a lot of news in New Zealand and around the world, so that may be what the lawmakers want. But do you see the whole thing risks backfiring and drawing more support for BDS?

          2. Israel cannot win the social media war. They don’t play dirty. They don’t create propaganda films or drum up videos from other regions of the world and fictitiously place “Palestinians” in an untrue light. This is what “Palestinians,” their leadership, and antisemites do. When Israel releases videos or news it is FACT. The world’s borders have been drawn by conflict, war, or “occupation.” That’s how lines we see on maps have been established. To hold them to a different standard than any other country is antisemetic and biased. Israel had smaller borders but on several occasions they were attacked by essentially every surrounding Arab country in the region. They won these wars despite not starting them and expanded their territory. Despite this, the “Palestinians” were GIVEN fertile beautiful land in the name of peace despite their failure on numerous occasions to be willing to concede even one point in peace talks. You can whittle away at a country’s land area only so much before it becomes so small that it can’t reasonably defend itself—especially in a region where all other countries are so hostile towards it. Israel is home to the regions happiest Arabs that are just that, Arab Israelis. They partake in government, all other types of jobs, and share in all the same opportunities and rights as other Jewish Israelis do. They aren’t set on destroying the country or committing violent acts. They are welcome. Native Americans in the US are in no different situation than the “Palestinians” with the only difference being there isn’t a dominant movement to destroy the US by Native American residents. And while they do have reservations there is peace and typically US residents and Native Americans can flow on and off each other’s lands without issue or immense hate and hostility. You can’t blame Israel for reasonably trying to protect it’s citizens, borders, and culture. Regarding BDS, I don’t care if it strengthens the movement. It’s about doing what’s right. If you are going to support the antisemetic and misinformed movement that is BDS, and spread misinformation, against one of the best and most supportive allies of the US, a person shouldn’t be allowed to put on a concert in a facility that is supported by American tax dollars.

          3. Thank you for your response Marshall. I do appreciate you sharing where you’re coming from. I’ll respond to a couple of the points.
            “Israel cannot win the social media war.” I tend to agree, but who’s to know. I understand this is now a a battlefield for hearts and minds as is clear by the concerted efforts of the Israeli government and their supporters who are exerting great resources in this area, just one example and I’ve read reports of many is the IDC: “As part of the program, students conduct research, create original content and distribute pro-Israel materials to organizations around the world via social media outlets. In addition, the program runs a virtual situation room which trains student groups in Israel and in the US to develop effective social media campaigns to counter BDS.” ( What I think is shameful about these programs is that people can be paid to spread pro-Israeli content without identifying that they are being paid.
            And to the second point about the lack of need for “FAKE” news, there has been extensive reports from international journalists who have stated they were forced to spread news from the Israeli government which they new to be false (because they were on the ground) but in the interests of “balance”, they had to give the Israeli point of view. These stories included the false information that Hamas used human shields in the last bombardment of Gaza. There has been no evidence of this but the successful false information spread by the Israeli government has led to most people thinking they did and that somehow excuses the huge civilian death toll in operation.
            I was astounded by your comment that “You can whittle away at a country’s land area only so much before it becomes so small that it can’t reasonably defend itself” because one of the most captivating images of this conflict is the whittling away of Palestinian territory since 1948. Clearly Israel, with nuclear weapons and one of the most powerful armies in the world is not militarily under any threat from Palestinians and yet it maintains a difficult rhetorical position of asserting its might and vulnerability. This seems the most powerful when it deems a 12 year old girl with scissors such a threat it must use deadly force, or when Ahed Tamimi slaps a heavily armed soldier in her front yard they lock her up indefinitely and subject children to kangaroo courts.
            Should we not welcome the non-violent approach now being led by Palestinians to address their injustices, even if, as it seems you do, you do not see them suffering from injustice? Or do you? Do you think Palestinians are suffering injustice?

  3. It was within her rights to cancel her show, just like it is within Florida’s rights to cancel her shows there. No one is removing any rights. Florida and most of other states lawmakers have the common sense to see through the Zionist/Jew hating organization that is BDS.

  4. By opening the stadium to public performances, the government created a limited public forum, so the government cannot prohibit the performance. The First Amendment applies to limited public forums.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons