Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Brian Eno, Roger Waters Respond to Nick Cave's Israel Press Conference

Brian Eno, Roger Waters Respond to Nick Cave's Israel Press Conference

"So really you could say that the BDS made me play Israel".

Cave and his band, The Bad Seeds, played to a sold-out crowd Sunday night in Tel Aviv - his first appearance on an Israeli stage in 20 years. "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". "On a very intuitive level I did not want to sign that list, there was something that stunk to me about that list", Cave said. Cave cited the reasons for that as being logistical and not political, however, it still made him uneasy. "People speak about loving a nation, but I felt a kind of connection that I couldn't really describe", he said. "As it happens I share a birthday with Israel: I too was born on May 15 1948".

But Cave said that playing the shows was his way of taking a "principled stand" against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which lobbies performers, as well as corporations and academic institutions, to disassociate themselves from Israel. Despite that, 2018 is gearing up to be even bigger, with dates set for shows by musical juggernauts such as former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne and former Beatle Ringo Starr.

Speaking in Israel, Cave said global musicians who wanted to play in Israel risked being "publicly shamed" by the campaign.

"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", he emphasized.

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. "To me it seems that Israel is digging itself into a deep, dark hole, where it will doubtless find company with Trump and various other nationalists around the globe". Other top artists performing this year include the legendary American rock band Guns N' Roses finished their world tour in Tel Aviv this summer, as well as Rod Stewart, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and Aerosmith.

"If you play Israel, you have to go through a sort of public humiliation from Roger Waters and Co., and no one wants to be publicly shamed".

Israel says the campaign goes beyond fighting its occupation of territory Palestinians claim for a state and often masks a more far-reaching aim to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

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