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Nick Cave playing Israel shows to "take a stand" against censorship

22 November 2017

Vociferous Israel critic Roger Waters hit back Monday at Australian rocker Nick Cave, who said that he had made a decision to play concerts in the Jewish state this week in part to resist criticism by the ex-Pink Floyd frontman and to take a principled position against boycott activists.

Last month, proponents of the BDS movement, led by Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, sent an open letter to Cave full of misinformation and outright lies in an attempt to guilt the artist into cancelling the show. Cave gave a press conference ahead of his peformances in Tel Aviv. "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".

The original letter, authored by Artists For Palestine UK, which counts Waters and Thurston Moore among others as members, begins by saying that "in the words of a recent United Nations report, 'Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people'".

"I admire Nick Cave as an artist and I know he has been generous in his support for Palestinian humanitarian causes. We regret that in a land of injustice Nick Cave is giving comfort to the unjust".

The Australian performer said British record producer Brian Eno asked him three years ago to sign a pro-Palestinian petition.

Roger Waters added: "Nick thinks this is about censorship of his music?" What?" Waters wrote. "Nick, with all due respect, your music is irrelevant to this issue. He continued. "Israel spends hundreds of millions of dollars on hasbara, and its side of the argument gets broadcast loud and clear".

"People around the world will be surprised to read that Cave has chosen not to speak out about the trial of the Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour or the targeting of journalist Makbula Nasser in Israel; nor the indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial of Palestinian artists, journalists and human rights defenders in the occupied West Bank; nor of the denial of permits for Palestinians musicians or of cancer patients seeking to exit Gaza". "Coupled with the scare-tactic of labeling any form of criticism of Israeli policy as 'antisemitic, ' this makes for a very uneven picture of what is going on".

Brian Eno, who rose to fame with Roxy Music in the 1970s, was somewhat more measured in his response to Cave.

Cave had said that Eno was directly responsible for his decision to play in Tel Aviv. We've played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. "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".

Nick Cave playing Israel shows to