Photo by Ellie Pritts
Ahead of Radiohead’s concert in Tel Aviv, Israel over the summer, members of the group Artists for Palestine UK penned an open letter to the band asking that they reconsider the performance. Now, the same association has addressed a letter of protest to Nick Cave over his upcoming shows in the Jewish state.
Cave is set to perform two nights at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Arena on November 19th and 20th. Just as they did with Radiohead, Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, and others including directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, activist Angela Davis, actress Julie Christie, and playwright Samah Sabawi have asked the Bad Seeds leader to cancel the show in protest of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.
Citing the mistreatment of Palestinian artists, state surveillance of social media, and the expansion of illegal settlements, the letter says, “These are crimes. But when international artists of your stature, despite the appeals of Palestinians, continue to turn up on Israeli stages, the government which promotes these crimes takes heart: whatever it does, it seems there will be no penalty.” It goes on to point out that the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry vocally supported Radiohead’s July gig, a sign that they saw it as positive “hasbara” (political propaganda).
Waters issued his own statement on the matter as well (via Pitchfork):
“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. … 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.”
A group of Israeli citizens have also reached out asking Cave to boycott his show. In a letter published earlier in the month, they pleaded with the musician to consider “Israeli government’s policies of oppression, occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people.”
When APUK addressed Radiohead’s Israeli concerts, it started a heated back-and-forth between Thom Yorke and Waters. The show eventually went on, with the band delivering their longest performance in 11 years.