Ahead of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' planned shows in Tel Aviv on November 19th and 20th, a number of artists and activists have urged Cave to reconsider performing in Israel.
Currently on tour with the Bad Seeds to promote his latest album, Skeleton Tree, Cave has earned criticism for his decision to play two shows in Tel Aviv in November.
Earlier in October, Cave was urged to boycott the state in a letter written by a group of Israeli citizens, in which he was told to "[s]ay something explicit against racism, occupation and apartheid, and stand against it".
Cave however, failed to respond to said letter, which has now prompted a group of musicians, filmmakers, journalists and activists to pen their own letter and ask if he would resist travelling to the state "while apartheid remains".
The signatories include, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, author AL Kennedy, journalist John Pilger, directors Mike Leigh, Penny Woolcock and Ken Loach, and American civil rights activist Angela Davis.
The letter says,
"[W]hen international artists of your stature, despite the appeals of Palestinians, continue to turn up on Israeli stages, the government which promotes these crimes takes heart: whatever it does, it seems there will be no penalty.
Like others who’ve added Tel Aviv to their touring schedule, you may say that you oppose Netanyahu. But it matters little whether or not artists endorse Israel’s government. It’s the fact they’re willing to perform in Israel that is important. It is seen as public approval for the status quo: that’s why Israel’s foreign affairs ministry celebrated Radiohead’s visit last July, while its media proclaimed their appearance as ‘the best hasbara Israel has received lately’."
In July, Radiohead drew considerable criticism over their own decision to go ahead with a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv. In an online argument with director Ken Loach, lead vocalist Thom Yorke justified his choice by saying,
"Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its 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 [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America."
Other artists who have boycotted Israel in the past include Pixies in 2010 and Lana Del Rey in 2014.
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