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Open letter to singer Nick Cave from the Gaza war protesters he once supported

on 7 Comments

Dear Nick Cave,

When the nine of us climbed the roof of the Elbit UK drone factory, your voice helped to amplify our action. You standing up for us in 2014 gave a wider echo to our arms factory protest against the ruthless Israeli bombardment of Gaza that was happening at the time.

You signed the letter asking that all charges against us, the nine protesters, should be dropped – indeed they were. The prosecution collapsed in February 2015, when Elbit refused to provide details of its military export licences and investigations into its trade with Israel.

Now again we need your voice for justice.

As you know, we scaled the roof of the Elbit factory because of the devastation being wreaked on the Palestinian population in Gaza, the majority of whom are children. They massacred more than 2000 Palestinians in 51 days, including over 500 children – 90 entire families were wiped off the citizen registry. This wanton destruction of besieged Gaza was carried out with Elbit drones, F16s, Merkava tanks, Jeeps, snipers and a plethora of other weapons in Israel’s arsenal.

While the equivalent ammunition of an atomic bomb was unleashed on one of the most crowded places on the planet, Palestinians beneath the bombs in Gaza called for solidarity in the form of support for the Palestinian call for international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel. The goals of the BDS movement are hardly utopian. They are asking for the freedom, justice and equality that we take for granted, yet has been denied to the Palestinians for nearly seven decades.

It is one thing to support us as we risked prison by taking action on the Israeli arms factory roof, to shine a light on the profits being made by Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. But a real stand with the Palestinian people is not to cross the BDS picket line, to honour their call by refusing to perform in Israel, and to refuse to participate in “Brand Israel”, a Foreign Ministry project using cultural icons and sports stars to whitewash the violent and racist practices of the Israeli state.

According to British and Israeli musicians Brian Eno and Ohal Grittier, “The foreign ministry in Israel works hand in hand with show promoters in Israel, who offer skyrocketing monetary compensation for concerts. Their stated goal is to establish a “Brand Israel” associated with liberal pluralism…But the decades-long systematic, often violent and murderous oppression of the Palestinian people has led us and many others to believe that, as in South Africa, boycott is an effective measure for bringing about change and liberation to an “oppressed people.”

We are asking you to join other musicians of conscience who have honoured the call, such as, Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello, Massive Attack, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Faithless, Gary Moore, Lauryn Hill, Klaxons, Cassandra Wilson, Jello Biafra, Lhasa, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Devendra Banhart, Vanessa Paradis, Gil Scott Heron, Pete Seeger, Cat Power, the Gorillaz and Leftfield.

South Africans who fought apartheid are now supporting the Palestinian struggle. They remember those international artists who stood by them by refusing to play Sun City, and we are asking you to stand against apartheid by refusing to perform a concert in Tel Aviv this November.

As you took a stand against Israel’s carnage in Gaza in the summer of 2014, we urge you to take a stand again now and honour the call from Palestine.


Hilary Aked, Naiara Bazin, Charlie Deas, Maya Evans, Ewa Jasiewicz, Joseph Lee, Adie Mormech, Jessica Nero and Sami Wannell


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7 Responses

  1. just on November 13, 2017, 4:26 pm

    That’s a humdinger of a letter! Well done.

    Let’s see if Cave will acknowledge the many truths cited and respect the Palestinians of Palestine who are under violent & crushing Israeli Occupation and siege. We can only hope that he has a functioning heart, mind, and compass.

    Here’s some news from Scotland:

    “Scottish police thwarted Palestinian activists’ right to protest in peace

    Police commission upheld three complaints by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign over officers’ actions towards activists

    … Sofiah MacLeod, chair of the SPSC, said police activities against the campaign had been escalating since 2014. “They have really been trying to intimidate individuals as far as we’re concerned. That’s how it comes across, and we’re very pleased that PIRC has investigated the matter and asked the police to look again at the complaints,” she said.”

    much more @

  2. Misterioso on November 14, 2017, 11:10 am

    Cave is a tenth rate “musician” in desperate need of a gig. Pathetic.

    • JustJessetr on November 20, 2017, 2:56 pm

      If you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best to say nothing.

  3. jon s on November 19, 2017, 7:13 am

    In this case it looks like the bds campaign has backfired:

    • Marnie on November 20, 2017, 2:41 am

      Nick Cave: BDS is the reason for my trip to Israel – Israel News … › Israel News

      Cave explained that, a few years ago, he understood that he wouldn’t sign an “Artists for Palestine” petition, calling for artists to refrain from coming to Israel. “I didn’t want to sign the petition. I didn’t connect to it. I don’t like lists,” he said.

      Cave said he realized that though he wouldn’t sign the petition, he also hadn’t performed in Israel for 20 years. Cave first visited Israel to play a concert in 1993, and has returned twice since.

      “That made me feel like a coward, so as soon as I planned this tour, it was important for me to come out against this silencing of artists,” he said.

      “I like Israel and Israelis, and it’s important for me to do something of substance about this.”

      Cave said he had not played in Israel for the past 20 years due to a lack of popularity and to complex logistical challenges involved in organizing shows.

      Interesting. He likes israelis, that would mean the +20% that aren’t jews. But the last line, that he hasn’t played for 20 years due to lack of popularity – does he mean the unpopular venue that is the zionist state, or his personal lack of popularity? Seems like a tool from jump street. Imagine he will make the rounds of photo ops with various nazi officials here. BDS will continue strong without him.

      • jon s on November 21, 2017, 3:42 pm

        I heard Nick Cave on the radio here, explaining that his resentment of bds bullying caused him to make sure to include Israel in his present tour .
        Marnie, why don’t Jews qualify as Israelis? And there are “nazi officials”?
        Of course if Nick would have caved (couldn’t resist the pun…) you would have considered him a hero.

      • Marnie on November 22, 2017, 12:08 am

        “Marnie, why don’t Jews qualify as Israelis? And there are “nazi officials”?

        Never said they didn’t. I made a point of recognizing the israelis that aren’t jews – do you have a problem with conversation that isn’t always about you? How can you be so obtuse?

        I wouldn’t consider Nick Cave a hero; he’s just another musician I’ve never heard of. I’d respect him though.

        The only heros here are Palestinians.

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