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#SwiftiesForPalestine: Taylor Swift urged to end Capital One deal over Israeli arms link

Pro-Palestine movement also urges singer to speak out on horrors in Gaza and express solidarity with Palestinians
American singer Taylor Swift (AFP)
American singer Taylor Swift has faced pressure from fans to speak out on the bloodshed in Gaza (AFP/File photo)

Taylor Swift is facing calls from some of her fans to sever ties with banking giant Capital One, the main sponsor of the US leg of her music tour, over loans it provided to Israel's largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems.

Using the hashtag #SwiftiesForPalestine, thousands of her fans, known as Swifties, have been urging the pop star to condemn Israel's eight-month assault on Gaza and have begun sharing an open letter criticising the devastating war.

The letter, which has since gone viral, highlighted Sunday's attack on Rafah, where 45 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed when an Israeli air strike hit a tent encampment.

"The international community, including many influential voices, has called for justice and peace, yet the agony still continues," says the letter, dated 29 May.

"Your influence transcends borders, and your words have the power to reach and activate an extensive audience, including people who are unaware of the severity of the genocide.

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"Speaking out about the Palestinian genocide would not only be consistent with your history of advocating for the victims, but it could also encourage your millions of fans to learn and take action to help.

"By spotlighting the urgent needs of Palestinians, you could raise support for immediate humanitarian help. Your smallest action could make a significant difference in amplifying these pleas for pressing for real change," it added.

Air strikes on the area in Rafah, which was designated a "safe zone" by Israel, stirred global condemnation, with celebrities including pop star Dua Lipa and Swift's long-term producer Jack Antonoff sharing the controversial All Eyes On Rafah post on their Instagram.

Meanwhile, the band Paramore, who are currently opening for Swift as part of her Era's Tour, have called on fans to support Gaza - piling further pressure on the musician to comment.

While the singer was photographed with fellow pop megastar Selena Gomez at a Gaza fundraiser in New York in December, she has not publicly spoken out about the war.

During recent concerts in Madrid and Lisbon, several members of Swift's fanbase launched the hashtag #SwiftiesForPalestine and could be seen in attendance urging the singer to break her silence on the conflict with placards and Palestinian flags.

Meanwhile, others took to social media to demand the singer tear up her contract with Capital One, the main sponsor of her US tour, which was offering exclusive merchandise to cardholders as recently as April this year.

The bank began a multi-year partnership with Swift in 2019 and joined five other creditors in providing a $500,000 loan to Elbit Systems in 2021.

UK tour

Elbit Systems, which produces 85 percent of the drones and land-based equipment used by the Israeli army, has faced renewed criticism in recent months over the reported use of its military hardware in Gaza. The firm also manufactures bullets, combat vehicles, electronic warfare systems and missiles for the Israeli army.

Japanese trading giant Itochu cut ties with Elbit in February, in response to an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Israel may be committing genocide in the besieged enclave.

"I know it's almost impossible for you to speak up about genocide in Rafah since ur sponsor is capital one, but we'll never get tired of trying till you mention it," wrote one fan on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Of course taylor swift won’t say a word about Palestine. her main tour sponsor is capital one, a corporation that funds Israeli weapons manufacturing. could she single-handledly get them to drop those contracts? honestly, probably! she should at least fucking try!," wrote another.

The singer is set to bring her tour to the UK in June. A number of homeless people have been sent via taxi out of Edinburgh, in Scotland, to make way for tourists ahead of Swift's arrival, BBC News reported on Wednesday.

MEE reached out to Capital One and Swift's representatives for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication.

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