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Israeli musicians to Nick Cave: Send a strong message — refuse to play in Israel

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Dear Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds,

We are musicians and political activists from Israel and we write you this message in order to encourage you to withdraw from your decision to perform in Israel at these times.

In 2017 the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories reached its 50th anniversary. During these 50 years, Israel has been controlling the territories between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea, offering democracy to its Jewish citizens at the expense of the invisible Palestinian population, that make almost 50% of the entire population in the region under Israeli control.

“Occupation” is a legal term, denoting a static condition. It is misleading as such. A more accurate terminology for the situation in Israel/Palestine should use terms such as “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid” to express the evolving dynamics of a racist regime that is designed to displace Palestinians.

We have all been active in different ways in the struggle to change this reality, forming Jewish-Arabic alliances within and outside Israel. We have come to realize that change will only result from pressure and we believe that the BDS is a powerful non-violent way to exert such pressure. The power to use it is in your hands, though. As Israeli citizens, we can only support your stance and encourage you to make the right decision.

Israel prides itself for being tolerant and culturally open, but in fact uses culture to limit divergent narratives and voices, and to whitewash its crimes. When performing in Israel one should always remember that they play in a country that discriminates huge populations of invisible people that have no citizenship and no freedom of movement, and are subject to a separate (military) court system. When performing in Israel one should always remember that they play only in front of the privileged. By choosing not to perform you can send them a strong message.


Aviad Albert
Meira Asher
Yoav Beirach
Ohal Grietzer
David Oppenheim
Danielle Ravitzki
Michal Sapir
Yonatan Shapira

Mondoweiss Editors

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21 Responses

  1. pabelmont on November 9, 2017, 12:56 pm

    Great letter! Very glad to hear from Israeli musicians!

  2. John G on November 9, 2017, 5:36 pm

    Wow. That’s disappointing. I was a big fan of his.

    • Cazador on November 10, 2017, 12:23 pm

      Maybe he’ll change his mind… He has the type of rough face features that would be appropriate if he were obliged to meet nutàyahoo, n’est-ce pas?

  3. just on November 9, 2017, 6:35 pm

    Here’s another overdue and welcome development:

    “Christian leaders urge Congress to reject Israel Anti-Boycott Act

    Dozens of American faith-based organizations have endorsed a call to defend the First Amendment rights of Americans who want to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights.

    Three Christian denominations – the Alliance of Baptists, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ – are lead signatories of the call, which was published as an advertisement in The Kansas City Star this week.

    “As faith leaders, we have long used the nonviolent instruments of boycott and divestment in our work for justice and peace,” the faith groups say. “These economic measures have proven to be powerful tools for social change, from strengthening labor rights for farm workers to ending apartheid in South Africa.” …

    This week, leaders representing 17 Christian organizations sent a letter to every member of Congress calling on them to oppose the bill.”…”

    much more @

    A link in the article leads to this:

    “Christian leaders call on Congress to oppose the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” …

    Washington, DC, November 6, 2017:

    Leaders representing 17 Christian organizations, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, and Global Ministries, sent a letter to all members of Congress today calling on them to oppose the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act.” The legislation was introduced in both the House and the Senate in March of this year.

    “As U.S. Christian churches and organizations committed to justice and peace in the Middle East,” the leaders wrote, “we are deeply concerned by the introduction of the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” in the Senate (S.720) and in the House (H.R.1697). This legislation, if adopted, would put legal obstacles in the way of nonviolent peaceful action meant to bring about social change, and would legislate against the freedom to make choices in the stewardship of our financial resources. The bills also conflate Israel and the settlements, erasing the important distinction between Israel and its illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

    Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and a signer of the letter said, “The effort to outlaw the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement is not only illegal, it will fail to achieve the results intended by those who support this legislation because it will make martyrs of those who are prosecuted and persecuted as a result of this bill.”…”

  4. Kay24 on November 10, 2017, 7:00 am

    It is heartening to know that within Israel there are sensible voices, who dare to disagree with what their leaders have done, and keep doing. If only there were more voices to deafen their leadership.

  5. Misterioso on November 10, 2017, 10:07 am

    Very interesting:

    Haaretz – Nov. 8, 2017

    “Young U.S. Jews want to know why no one told them about the Israeli occupation”
    By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

    “IfNotNow launches ‘You Never Told Me’ campaign, calling on Jewish educational groups to inform students about Israel’s policies and to include the Palestinian narrative.”

    “NEW YORK – About 20 protesters from the U.S. anti-occupation group IfNotNow held a rally outside the Jewish Theological Seminary on Tuesday night, standing in the rain to demand that the Conservative movement’s Camp Ramah start talking about the Israeli occupation.

    “It was the first demonstration in the mainly millennial group’s ‘You Never Told Me’ campaign, which calls on Jewish educational groups to include information about the occupation in their teachings about Israel.

    “The campaign’s official website says it came out of ‘realizations that the Israel education we received during our youth was one-sided and incomplete,’ calling on the institutions to ‘include an honest understanding of the occupation and Palestinian narratives.’

    “The website quotes dozens of alumni of various Jewish schools, camps and youth groups with writers saying they feel mislead by their education.”

    • Cazador on November 10, 2017, 12:33 pm

      “Young U.S. Jews want to know why no one told them about the Israeli occupation”
      By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

      That’s a terrible statement, but then again, keep them in the dark if your motives, actions and results are definitely of the darkest type.

      No wonder Einstein called Israel’s zionist government and its project a fascist terrorist organization, on December 4, 1948:

      Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.»

      • Mooser on November 10, 2017, 2:05 pm

        “the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi…”

        I wonder if he was the first to note that relativity.

      • Misterioso on November 10, 2017, 4:13 pm

        Speaking of “a fascist terrorist organization:”

        By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac. Nov 09, 2017 – Haaretz.

        “A Palestinian’s Lost Boyhood: Jailed, Isolated and Shot by Israeli Police.”

        “Majed Mustafa, a 16-year-old from East Jerusalem who was convicted of throwing stones, is recuperating from a splenectomy. After that, it’s back to jail.”

        “Here’s a brief history of the life of Majed Mustafa, the 16-year-old son of a construction worker from Jerusalem’s Isawiyah neighborhood, which abuts Mount Scopus: two convictions; half a year in prison; 14 months under house arrest far from his home; a fairly serious gunshot wound inflicted by the police; surgery and hospitalization, including removal of the spleen; severance from his school and friends. And in less than another two months, after he recovers from his injuries, he is slated to return to prison. He’ll never complete his education, he’s missed three years of school: He left in the eighth grade to enter prison, and never returned; today, his friends are in the 11th grade. He also lost any contact with most of those friends during the years in which he was cut off from his home. And all because of stone throwing.

        “This is the lost boyhood of Majed Mustafa, a Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem, not in the Gaza Strip and not in the West Bank.”

      • Marnie on November 12, 2017, 12:03 am

        The lost boyhood of Majed Mustafa multiplied by 10, 1000, 10,000, 100,000 or 1,000,000. Just business as usual in the zionist state. What’s the theft of yet another young palestinian life? The crime that palestinians continue to be punished for is simply breathing. ;^(

  6. Cazador on November 10, 2017, 2:40 pm


    Well taken point. I have the feeling Mr. Einstein was participating to that co-signed letter in no relative terms. His attempt and actions were right to the point and at the highest level, asking the US President, Harry S. Truman, not to receive Menachem Begin so the US and the rest of the world would not think that the US was supporting the creation of Israel…

    I’ve used Einstein’s démarche against Israel’s creation a few times, and I’ve found no zionist troll to attack Einstein, so far…

    • Misterioso on November 10, 2017, 4:30 pm

      In 1929, Professor Albert Einstein replied as follows to his friend Chaim Weizmann (then president of the British Zionist Federation) who had written to him about the Jewish Zionist question: “Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our 2,000 years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us,” he wrote, adding, “should the Jews not learn to live in peace with the Arabs, the struggle against them will follow them for decades in the future.” (“When Albert Einstein was a Holy Land Ladies’ Man,” Haaretz, February 3, 2015, by Gili Izkovitch)

      In 1939 he prophetically wrote: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. We must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

      It is unfortunate that the Truman administration ignored the wisdom expressed by Einstein in his testimony before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in January 1946. When asked whether refugee settlement in Palestine demanded a Jewish state, he replied: “The State idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with narrow-mindedness and economic obstacles. I believe it is bad. I have always been against it.”

      In his Out of My Later Years, Einstein reiterated his views on partition, which was then reality: “I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from the practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state.” (Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1956; p. 263) .

      • Cazador on November 11, 2017, 3:29 am

        Thank you for the additional and very interesting information.

        The video document «Occupation 101» shows an Orthodox Palestinian Jew claiming that his parents, grand parents and so on lived in peace with the Palestinians before the arrival of the European Zionists in 1945, exchanging services between the two communities, going even as far as baby sitting each other’s children when some emergency, medical or of another kind, happened.

        Some Moroccan Jews who moved to Israel at the request of various Israeli governments soon found out that their life was by far more peaceful in Morocco. Many left Israel to go back to Morocco. Statistics have been showing that more Jews are leaving Israel than moving to Israel. I don’t know if it’s still the case, considering the high level of occupation of Palestinian land via settlements.

      • Mooser on November 11, 2017, 12:29 pm

        “In 1929, Professor Albert Einstein repled…/… even without a Jewish state.”

        What a bunch of malarky. Albert Einstein was a physicist and mathematician. What did he know about the “genetic connection”? Zilch, zero, nada, nothing, bupkis!
        Just because he made up the theory of relativity doesn’t mean Einstein knew anything about relatives.

      • Citizen on November 12, 2017, 1:41 pm

        @ Mooser

        Did you mean theory of relative continuity?

      • Mooser on November 12, 2017, 3:31 pm

        “Did you mean theory of relative continuity?”

        Yup, that’s it. The amount of Jewish continuity is relative to only one thing, unquestioning support of Zionism.

    • Mooser on November 10, 2017, 5:08 pm

      Gotta wonder if that was the first, or perhaps the first specific Zionist-Nazi comparison? (One made to Zionism’s disadvantage) If so, gives theorizing about the relative ideologies quite a provenance.

  7. Emory Riddle on November 10, 2017, 6:19 pm

    I would boycott these rock acts who go ahead and play Israel but I have already been boycotting them over their lack of artistry already.

    • Cazador on November 11, 2017, 3:39 am

      I enjoy Roger Waters’ artistry, but I dare say he won’t give a show in Israel, not a musical one that is. And I have no doubt that Israeli officials would not let him come to Israel for fear of his words instead of his music…

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