Nick Cave Is The Latest Artist To Be Asked To Cancel A Show In Israel
    • TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2017

    • Posted by: Chris Deverell

    Nick Cave is the latest artist to take flak for his decision to perform in Israel, after he received an open letter calling for him to cancel his shows in the country. Cave is set to perform back-to-back shows in Tel Aviv at the end of his tour in late November.

    The letter comes from the same group, Artists for Palestine UK, that called on Thom Yorke to cancel Radiohead's performance in Israel earlier this year. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters is the most public and vocal member of the opponent group, which is also comprised of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, along with several filmmakers.

    The group is not alone in their opposition either, earlier this month, a group of Israeli citizens also released a letter to Cave, calling on him to not support a government that bases its power off "policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people."

    The Waters letter goes on in a scathing manner, questioning whether or not Nick Cave, Thom Yorke, and Bryan Adams (who is scheduled to perform in early December) would choose to play if they were to experience the oppressions that Palestinians are facing.

    In a particularly damning section, Waters states:

    "You can either heed the cry, respect your brothers' and sisters' picket line and stand with them in their struggle for the basic human rights we all take for granted, or you can turn your backs on them, take the shilling, and entertain their lords and masters at the banquets and balls."

    Some have questioned the efficacy and morality of the protests, with accusations of anti-Semitism being brought against the Water's group, though others argue that such a sentiment seems to conflate opposition to the Israeli government with religious intolerance. Radiohead's Thom Yorke also shot back at Waters and co., stating that it is his intention to foster connections instead of division, and that supporting a country isn't the same as endorsing its government policies. Radiohead went on with their planned performance in Israel, though it's worth noting however that Yorke appeared to mumble obscenities directed at Palestinian protesters during a prior show in Glasgow, Scotland, according to a complaint lodged by the group Glasgow Palestinian Action.

    All of this arguing between musicians might seem trivial in the face of international geopolitics, but these protests are not without effect. Several big-name artists cancelled performances in Israel in 2014 during Operation Protective Edge, during which an estimated 1,600 Palestinian civilians were killed. Cancellations by artists such as Lana Del Ray, Neil Young, Megadeth and the Backstreet Boys cost between 10 and 20 billion dollars in lost revenue according to concert promoters.

    Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds are probably finding themselves in a bit of a pickle right now, and will likely take heat from one side or the other, regardless of whether or not they choose to perform. Though it remains to be seen, one can't help but wonder that in the future artists might avoid these controversies altogether by simply avoiding scheduling tour dates in Israel.

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