Nick Cave calls boycott of Israel “cowardly and shameful”

December 13, 2018 by Ilanit Chernick - TPS
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Veteran Australian singer Nick Cave has elaborated on his stance against the Israel boycott movement through releasing an email he sent to musician well-known Brian Eno, after he was pressured not to play in Israel last year.

Nick Cave Photo: Facebook

Cave, the lead singer of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, played two concerts in Israel in 2017 but was pressured to cancel his trip and performances by BDS musical stalwarts Eno,Roger Waters and film director Ken Loach, among others.

He wrote that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was a part of the reason he decided to play in Israel, saying that he does not support the current government in Israel, “yet do not accept that my decision to play in the country is any kind of tacit support for that government’s policies.”

He added that he supports the Palestinian cause and that Palestinian suffering “is ended via a comprehensive and just solution, one that involves enormous political will on both sides.

“The boycott risks further entrenching positions in Israel in opposition to those you support,” he said.

“Ultimately,” he wrote, “whatever the rights and wrongs of official Israeli action in the disputed territories, Israel is a real, vibrant, functioning democracy – yes, with Arab members of parliament – and so engaging with Israelis, who vote, may be more helpful than scaring off artists or shutting down means of engagement.”

He explained to Eno that he realized it would make a stronger statement “to go to Israel and tell the press and the Israeli people how you feel about their current regime, [and] then do a concert on the understanding that the purpose of your music was to speak to the Israeli people’s better angles.”

After publishing the email, Cave captioned it with a note saying Eno was his hero, and that he is responsible for “some of the most important and essential recordings I have ever heard. So, if there seems to be a thread of anguish that runs through this letter, this is indeed the case.”

However, he made it clear that Eno was “weaponizing” music.

“What has brought us to the point where certain musicians feel it is ethically sound to use forms of coercion and intimidation, in the form of ‘open’ letters, on fellow musicians who don’t agree with their point of view?

“I simply could not treat my Israeli fans with the necessary contempt to do Brian Eno’s bidding,” he said, adding “how far must we have strayed from the transformative nature of music to feel justified in weaponizing music and using it to punish ordinary Israeli citizens for the actions of their government.”

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