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Nick Cave urged to cancel Tel Aviv shows by Roger Waters, Angela Davis, Thurston Moore


Musicians Roger Waters, Thurston Moore and Tunde Adebimpe, poet Michael Rosen, philosopher Judith Butler and political activist Angela Davis are among many high profile figures who have called on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to cancel their concerts in Tel Aviv on November 19 and 20 this year.

An open letter also signed by Ronnie Kasrils, anti-apartheid activist and minister in the democratic South African government that succeeded Nelson Mandela’s, and eminent poet Breyten Breytenbach, who was jailed by South Africa’s apartheid regime, urges the band to reconsider the shows in the light of a recent UN report that said ‘Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people’.

The open letter cites ‘Palestinian writers under house arrest; literary festivals broken up; travel bans for actors and musicians’; ‘crimes’, it says, for which the government of Israel needs to be held to account, but isn’t. The signatories, who include British filmmakers Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Penny Woolcock, tell Nick Cave, ‘When international artists of your stature continue to turn up on Israeli stages, the government takes heart; whatever it does, it seems there will be no penalty.’

Artists for Palestine UK, whose pledge to uphold the cultural boycott of Israel has been signed by more than 1,200 UK artists, added: ‘Nick Cave may not want to endorse the Netanyahu government, but the Netanyahu government will certainly endorse him.’

Cave and his band are set to follow in the footsteps of British band Radiohead, who ignored worldwide appeals to them not to cross the picket line called for by Palestinian civil society as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Radiohead played Tel Aviv in July, disappointing many fans, but garnering rapturous praise and acclaim from the Israeli government and numerous Israel lobby groups.

US artist Molly Crabapple and Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif are among the international figures warning Nick Cave that his appearances in Israel will meet the same fate. Israeli diplomats and embassies have taken to social media to welcome him.

Radiohead cited Noam Chomsky in defence of their appearance in Israel. But the renowned linguist has recently said he opposes ‘any appearance in Israel that is used for nationalistic or other propaganda purposes to cover up its occupation and denial of Palestinian human rights.’

During the current tour, Nick Cave fans have held protests outside shows in Glasgow, Nottingham, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen and Berlin.

Today’s open letter follows appeals from both Palestinian and Israeli campaigners.

Signatory Roger Waters commented:

I wonder if Nick and Bryan [Adams, scheduled to play Tel Aviv December 4 and 5, and Jerusalem December 6] and Thom Yorke and the rest of these guys were to spend even a day or two in administrative detention [without charge or trial], or even once have their kids woken and arrested in the middle of the night, or, or, or……whether they would still ignore the screams of the victims and the desperate pleas for help from Palestinian civil society, whether they would still  cross the picket line.

And before all the self justification starts, yes, of course other countries have bad records on human rights, not least the USA. But in the fight for human rights we have to make our stand where and when we can. In the 60s it was Jim Crow America, in the 80s and 90s it was Apartheid South Africa, now it is Lawless Apartheid Israel. You stood up for your South African brothers and sisters in the 90s, why would you ignore your Palestinian brothers and sisters in the 2010s?

You stand at a crossroads; 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.

Artists for Palestine UK

Artists for Palestine UK is a growing network of artists, cultural workers and activists who wish to make a stand in support of justice and equality for the Palestinians, and defend arts organisations and individuals who do make such a stand against politically motivated attacks and censorship. To learn more visit

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32 Responses

  1. Bumblebye on October 30, 2017, 1:39 pm

    Completely O/T, but I’m reading in the last few minutes that israel has kilked six in Gaza, using toxic gas. Even if the victims were in a tunnel, as one comment suggests, this is banned chemical warfare. Seems to be too soon for there to be any links – just people on the ground so far.

    But who *really* wants to be associated as a performer with a country prepared to do this?

    • Bumblebye on October 30, 2017, 2:22 pm

      From a comment, with no link:

      “The Israeli occupation forces on Monday struck a Palestinian resistance site east of Khan Younis, south of the besieged Gaza Strip, leaving at least 7 Palestinian killed and nine others injured.
      The casualties were rushed to Shuhadaa al-Aqsa Hospital, in Gaza, so as to be treated for the injuries sustained in the attack, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
      Nine Palestinians was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
      the Israeli army claimed responsibility for an attack targeting a Palestinian resistance site under construction on the borderland between 1948 Occupied Palestine and Khan Younis.
      The occupation army added that the blast was carried out using new “breakthrough technology.” Sounds of heavy blasts were detected along Gaza’s border fence.”

      • John O on October 30, 2017, 2:53 pm

        Oh dear.

        This sounds very like the provocation that ended up as Cast Lead. Israel broke the cease fire with Hamas in Gaza on the day Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. Looks like the same strategy – kill a few Gazans on a day when the whole world is focused on events in Washington; wait for the inevitable retaliation from Hamas; “mow the lawn”.

      • oldgeezer on October 30, 2017, 4:19 pm

        As John notes this is the typical m.o. Murder some people then cry right to defend if there us any blowback. They use this quite regularly and not just 2014. A very murderous bunch of criminal thugs.

      • DaBakr on October 31, 2017, 2:32 am

        Israel was made aware (through ground sensors or Intel-take your pick) that a new tunnel was approaching from Gaza under the border fence. Israel opted to wait until more was known and a more opportune time to destroy the tunnel. Wether the high command could determine how many Palestinian soldiers were in the tunnel it was determined that the tunnel made it under the border and into Israeli territory.
        . Waiting to cause maximum damage is a reasonable military strategy that makes perfect military sense considering. The militants were said to be led by Islamic Jihad. We hold the Hamas responsible but understand that neither Hamas nor the pa are eager for something to flare up out of their absolute control

      • DaBakr on October 31, 2017, 8:04 am


        Were it the IDF special forces that had snuck into Gaza to accomplish an operation and who were caught by v Hamas and the operation was liquidated before any harm could be done, why, you would most surely be jumping for joy along with many peers here on MW. Unless you really do not comprehend what Israelis actually go through and think it’s some kind of baby’s game.

      • Bumblebye on October 31, 2017, 8:58 am

        It was humint, per Silverstein.

        Your terminology is an admission that israel is mired in an endlèss war of its own making against Palestine and all things Palestinian. Seems it’s israel that *feels* beseiged by the Palestinians it is actually beseiging in all occupied parts of the land. You’ve made yourselves insane.

  2. jon s on October 31, 2017, 12:52 am

    The idf destroyed a tunnel which had reached Israeli territory.

    • eljay on October 31, 2017, 8:38 am

      || jon s:

      The idf destroyed a tunnel which had reached Israeli territory. ||

      According to that article, the tunnel exited near the colony of Kibbutz Kissufim which, like your colony of Be’er Sheva, is in Occupied Palestine (outside of Israel’s / Partition borders).

      • pabelmont on October 31, 2017, 3:58 pm

        eljay: This idea of yours raises the question which option is correct? — [1] ALL of Israel is inside oPt, [2] NONE of Israel or WB&G is inside oPt (as Israel sometimes claims, but as the UN and ICJ reject), [3] all and only pre-1967 Israel are not inside oPt, or [4] Israel’s only territory which is not inside oPt is the part mapped out for a Jewish state in UNGA 181 (1947) (as you urge here).

        Keep urging! Maybe some folks will “buy” option [4]. My feeling is for [1]. The UN seems to adopt [3].

      • eljay on November 1, 2017, 9:09 am

        || pabelmont: eljay: … Keep urging! Maybe some folks will “buy” option [4]. My feeling is for [1]. The UN seems to adopt [3]. ||

        I’m of the opinion that Israel comprises the territory…
        – it was assigned under Partition;
        – it freely accepted;
        – within which it asked to be recognized as a state; and
        – within which it was recognized as a state.

        YM(and that of others)MV. :-)

    • Bumblebye on October 31, 2017, 9:02 am

      The idf murdered – unnecessarily – a number of resistance fighters. They waited for the opportunity to commit those murders. Would have been perfectly possible to prove they had a few shreds of humanity left by picking a time when the tunnels were empty, especially as there was NO attack on israel.

    • amigo on October 31, 2017, 12:59 pm

      “IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis told reporters that the tunnel was a “gross violation of Israeli sovereignty” that required a military response.

      read more:

      If the tunnel stopped at the illegal fence which is deep inside Gaza , then the tunnel was nowhere near Israeli territory , wherever the hell that is.

    • amigo on October 31, 2017, 1:11 pm

      “The idf destroyed a tunnel which had reached Israeli territory.” jon s

      Surely you heard them in the dead of night Jon S , burrowing their way beneath your squat on their way to the self declared borders of 1948 , ie “Israeli Territory”.

      Btw , you seem to have turned into somwhat of a”whataboutist”
      lately .

      what,s that about.

    • John O on October 31, 2017, 1:49 pm

      @jon s and DaBakr

      The smart thing militarily would have been to note where the tunnel is and deploy countermeasures, and, should hostilities break out, wait until 40 or 50 fighters are down there, then blow it up. But the Israeli government just can’t resist the chance to do something just because they’ll get away with it with no adverse consequences.

      • jon s on October 31, 2017, 7:08 pm

        Kibbutz Kissufim the “community of armed thieves…” has a civilian population of around 250.They raise chickens and cows and grow avocado.

      • Mooser on November 1, 2017, 2:23 pm

        ” has a civilian population of around 250.They raise chickens and cows and grow avocado.”

        “Jon s” have you ever thought of growing your credibility back?

    • oldgeezer on October 31, 2017, 5:55 pm


      The oppressors sealed off an escape tunnel from the world largest open air prison camp and was nowhere Israeli territory. The tunnel had approached a community of armed thieves and illegal squatters.

      • jon s on October 31, 2017, 6:58 pm

        We’re talking about active Islamic Jihad operatives, in a tunnel which had penetrated Israeli territory. I don’t see the problem with destroying it.

      • Bumblebye on October 31, 2017, 10:23 pm

        Jon s

        you “don’t see a problem with destroying it” – the tunnel. Do you also fail to see a problem with the murder of resistance members who were NOT attacking israel? Israel *could* have demonstrated a shred or two of humanity and waited until the tunnels were empty. But naaah. Instead they test some weird new ordnance that Gazans are convinced include banned chemical weapons.

    • Emory Riddle on October 31, 2017, 7:35 pm

      Those whom the Gods would destroy he first makes insane.

      • jon s on November 1, 2017, 10:04 am

        No, I don’t see a problem with destroying a tunnel that had penetrated Israeli territory and I don’t see a problem with killing Islamic Jihad terrorists who were in it.

      • festus on November 1, 2017, 10:46 am

        No, I don’t see a problem with destroying a tunnel that had penetrated Israeli territory and I don’t see a problem with killing Islamic Jihad terrorists who were in it.

        How about killing hundreds of kids by dropping them on their homes while they sleep or try to sleep like the IDF did to gaza in 2014. Am I correct in assuming you see no problem with that as well?

      • Bumblebye on November 1, 2017, 4:32 pm

        festus, wish you’d addressed the above to the murderous jon s!

      • Mooser on November 1, 2017, 6:22 pm

        ” I don’t see a problem with killing Islamic Jihad terrorists”

        Just shows to go ya’, doesn’t it “Jon s”; One man’s “Jihad” is another man’s Zionism.

      • eljay on November 2, 2017, 7:27 am

        || jon s: … No, I don’t see a problem with destroying a tunnel that had penetrated Israeli territory and I don’t see a problem with killing Islamic Jihad terrorists who were in it. ||

        Similarly, you must not see a problem with destroying colonies that penetrate non-Israeli territory and you must not see a problem with killing the Zionist terrorists who are in them.

  3. JustJessetr on October 31, 2017, 3:27 pm

    There is no picket line.

    There is no “Lawless Apartheid Israel”, in the sense that it has capital letters and is a proper noun.

    There IS a general belief among BDS that people are stupid and will swallow anything fed to them.

  4. jon s on November 1, 2017, 10:04 am

    No, I don’t see a problem with destroying a tunnel that had penetrated Israeli territory and I don’t see a problem with killing Islamic Jihad terrorists who were in it.

    • echinococcus on November 1, 2017, 10:59 am

      Well, John S, I sure don’t see a problem with eliminating terrorist colonials who defend and support the Zionist genocide. Unlike your criminal operation, that is sanctioned by international law.

    • Mooser on November 1, 2017, 6:25 pm

      a tunnel that had penetrated Israeli territory”

      How could you tell?

    • jon s on November 2, 2017, 3:13 am

      No, I’ve never justified deliberately targetting innocent civilians -especially kids- on either side.

  5. Qualtrough on November 1, 2017, 11:09 pm

    It must be a difficult decision to make for an artist because Zionists are heavily represented among concert promoters, record labels, and the entertainment industry as a whole. Cave has to weigh the real fear that it will impact his career.

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