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Artists For Palestine responds to Nick Cave as Bad Seeds go ahead with Tel Aviv shows

By | Published on Tuesday 21 November 2017

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

A number of musicians involved in the Artists For Palestine campaign, including Roger Waters and Brian Eno, have responded to Nick Cave’s recent press conference explaining his reasons for performing in Israel.

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds announced earlier this year that they would include dates in Tel Aviv on their tour schedule. In response, Artists For Palestine published an open letter to Cave in October, signed by artists including Waters, TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and Thurston Moore.

Cave in turn held a press conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, ahead of two shows in the city last night and tonight, accusing AFP of bullying. He said that he had declined to play in Israel throughout his career to avoid “a sort of public humiliation from Roger Waters and co” that he had seen other artists go through.

“After a lot of thought and consideration, I rang up my people and said, ‘We’re doing a European tour and Israel'”, said Cave. “Because it suddenly became very important to make a stand against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians, and to silence musicians”.

In a statement, AFP responded: “Nick Cave pretends that Artists For Palestine UK’s insistence on the restoration of Palestinian rights somehow infringes the rights of others. But what are we to make of a privileged artist who somehow contrives to turn the notion of a collective protest against the destruction of an entire people into a complaint that it is he that is being silenced?”

It continued: “What are we to make of the fact that Cave makes such a statement, but does not care to mention the word ‘Palestinian’? Artists For Palestine UK believe it is Palestinians who know the meaning of daily humiliation and silencing. We regret that in a land of injustice Nick Cave is giving comfort to the unjust”.

Various artists involved in the campaign also issued individual statements.

“This has nothing to do with ‘silencing’ artists – a charge I find rather grating when used in a context where a few million people are permanently and grotesquely silenced”, said Brian Eno. “Israel spends hundreds of millions of dollars on hasbara [propaganda], and its side of the argument gets broadcast loud and clear. Coupled with the scare-tactic of labelling any form of criticism of Israeli policy as ‘anti-Semitic’, this makes for a very uneven picture of what is going on”.

Roger Waters added: “Nick thinks this is about censorship of his music? What? Nick, with all due respect, your music is irrelevant to this issue. So is mine, so is Brian Eno’s, so is Beethoven’s. This isn’t about music, it’s about human rights”.

Earlier this year, Radiohead were also called upon to cancel a show in Tel Aviv by Artists For Palestine. In response, Thom Yorke said: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing the government. We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression”.