Nick Cave has accused figures such as Brian Eno and Roger Waters of "bullying musicians" in regards to their Israeli boycott.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds plan to end their current tour in Tel Aviv, and the songwriter held a press conference to answer a few questions in relation to the show.
Asked why there was a 20 year gap between his appearances in Israel, Nick Cave replied: "There’s a short answer to that and a long answer and I might try and go somewhere in the middle."
Explaining that he "felt a huge connection with Israel" he said that due to 'The Boatman's Call' not performing well in the country he decided to skip Israeli gig offers.
"Israel isn’t on the circuit, I don’t know if you know that but when you do say a European tour, no one really thinks of doing Israel. In fact, it's a very difficult thing from logistical point of view. It’s expensive and time consuming and it’s a lot easier just to not play Israel."
The songwriter went on to insist that he also felt a certain degree of pressure not to play the Middle East country, due in part to the ongoing cultural boycott represented by Roger Waters and the BDS movement.
"On top of that, if you do play Israel, you have to go through a kind of public humiliation from Roger Waters and co. and no one wants to be publicly shamed. It’s the thing we fear most in a way, to be publicly humiliated."
He continued: "Eventually I got a letter three years ago from Brian Eno which asked me sign a list of people called Artists For Palestine. He sent me that list and I just didn’t, on a very intuitive level, did not want to sign that list. Was something that stunk to me about that list. So I wrote back and I said I don’t like lists, I don’t want to sign the list. Then it kind of occurred to me that I’m not signing the list but I’m also not playing Israel. And that just seemed to me cowardly really."
"So, after a lot of thought and consideration I rang up my people and said we’re doing a European tour and Israel. Because it suddenly became very important to me to make a stand against those people that are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians. At the end of the say there’s maybe two reasons why I'm here, one is that I love Israel and I love Israeli people and two is to make a principled stand against anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians. So really you could say in a way that the BDS made me play Israel."
Elsewhere at the press conference, Nick Cave spoke openly about his need to perform following the death of his son, describing the shows at "cathartic" and a "communal experience" for both fans and artist.
"What happened is that I think they started with a kind of very much about a personal pain, but very quickly the whole thing kind of just opened into something that was very much universal and I think people just responded to the concerts in that way. So it’s not about me, they feel it’s not really... for me it's done a huge amount of good, it’s done a huge amount of good for my own sense of self, my own healing if you like. But there’s something that exists beyond myself with these concerts that is really powerful."
Set to close his current spell on touring, Nick Cave was asked about future plans. "I’m just going to turn the internet off and just read and write, think about my work and stuff like that. Stop thinking about whether I should be playing Israel or not playing Israel. These sorts of issues, I just want to go back to some work. On tour it becomes very much... your life expands in a way because you’re moving from town to town, but it shuts down in a way because it becomes very kind of ritualised. And it’s just nice to be able to go back into your home and not have to worry about all those sorts of things."
"I would say I want to make a new record and write words and stuff like that, that’s the plan. And kiss my wife."
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are set to play two sold out shows in Tel Aviv tonight and tomorrow (November 19th, 20th).
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a founding member of the BDS national committee, have responded to Nick Cave's comments:
.@nickcave's performances in Tel Aviv and recent statement are a propaganda gift to Israeli apartheid. Nonetheless, we thank him for making one thing abundantly clear -- playing Tel Aviv is never simply about music. pic.twitter.com/VkfRCXYnPt— PACBI (@PACBI) November 19, 2017
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