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Nick Cave playing Israel shows to “take a stand” against censorship

Nick Cave at Beacon Theatre
photo by Dana Distortion

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds end their European tour with a pair of controversial shows in Israel, on November 19-20, at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Arena. Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, and Tunde Adebimpe spoke out against Cave’s decision to play Israel in an open letter, saying “don’t go – not while apartheid remains.” Radiohead’s Israel show back in July attracted similar furor and protests from Waters and Moore, among others, and was also defended by Michael Stipe.

On Sunday (11/19) Cave held a press conference ahead of his peformances in Tel Aviv. The Times of Israel reports that Cave’s decision to come to Israel came from wanting to take a stand against the censorship of musicians by people like Roger Waters. “If you do come [to Israel],” Cave said, “you have to go through public humiliation from Roger Waters and his partners and no one wants to embarrass themselves publicly.” Cave continued:

“For 20 years, I said, ‘let’s give it up,” Cave said of plans to come to Israel. “A few years ago, Brian Eno sent me a letter and asked me to sign it to shut out Israel, and I sent a letter back that said I wouldn’t sign. I understood that I wouldn’t sign but I also wouldn’t perform in Israel — and that seemed like I was acting scared. So I called my people and asked that we perform in Israel.”

Said Cave: “It suddenly became very important to make a stand, to me, against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians.”

Cave elaborated that he was in Israel for two reasons: “I love Israel and I love Israeli people,” he said, and he wanted to take “a principled stand against anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians. So really, you could say, in a way, that the BDS made me play Israel.”

The BDS, or Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, “works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

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