Israel

Nick Cave Tells Fellow Musician Brian Eno The Cultural Boycotts of Israel are “Shameful”

Australian rock star Nick Cave has reaffirmed his opposition to the cultural boycott of Israel, describing the singling out of Israel for discrimination “cowardly and shameful,” The Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Cave released an email on his website he sent to fellow musician Brian Eno, in which he accused the boycotts campaign of intimidation by attempting to stop artists from performing in the Jewish State. Cave also accused Eno, a prominent supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, of “weaponizing” music for political gains.

“What has brought us to the point where certain musicians feel it is ethically sound to use forms of coercion and intimidation, in the form of ‘open’ letters, on fellow musicians who don’t agree with their point of view? … I simply could not treat my Israeli fans with the necessary contempt to do Brian Eno’s bidding,” Cave wrote.

The singer, who played two concerts in Tel Aviv in November 2017, said his decision to perform in Israel was in part informed by his opposition to cultural boycotts. Cave clarified that he chose to play in Israel, “not as support for any particular political entity but as a principled stand against those who wish to bully, shame and silence musicians.”

According to Cave, going to Israel and engaging with the local population is a more effective way to change the policies of the Israeli government, of which the singer said he was critical. “I do not support the current government in Israel, yet do not accept that my decision to play in the country is any kind of tacit support for that government’s policies,” Cave observed. He also described Israel as a “real, vibrant, function democracy.”

In the past, Eno charged that “Israel has consistently – and lavishly – used cultural exchange as a form of ‘hasbara’ [propaganda] to improve the image of the country abroad, and to ‘show Israel’s prettier face’, in the words of a foreign ministry official.”

Other musicians, including Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, also defended their decision to perform in the Jewish State. Ahead of his band’s performance in Israel, Yorke called anti-Israel boycotters “offensive” and “patronizing.” He also said last year that, “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government.”

[Photo: Marianne Faithfull / YouTube ]