Former Smiths frontman Morrissey has ignored calls for a cultural boycott of Israel and announced his intentions to perform two headline shows in the country.
With tickets being limited to 5,000 due to advice set out by the Health Ministry, Morrissey will perform at Binyamina’s Zappa Amphi Shuni on May 9th before following it up with a show at Tel Aviv’s Bitan on May 11th. The two concerts mark the fourth time Morrissey has performed in Israel but the first time he’s returned since 2016.
In recent years, planned performances in Israel have been met with controversy. The BDS Movement, a Palestine-led organisation founded in 2005, has repeatedly called for all major artists to boycott Isreal in every cultural capacity. According to the BDS, who have been publicly supported by the likes of Brian Eno, Roger Waters and more, it has three aims: an end to Israel’s military occupation, equality for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
While the likes of Nick Cave and Radiohead have tackled the contentious subject, Morrissey has always been clear in his stance over the boycott and, in a 2017 interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, he described the movement “absurd” before adding: “I’m against it. It is absurd and narrow-minded. Being politically correct is incorrect. It is absurd. It means forbidding the freedom of speech. This is how the BDS movement sounds to me.”
He added: “I love this city [Tel Aviv]. The rest of the world does not like Israel well. But the people there are very generous and friendly. You should never judge a people by their government. It is very rare for the government to reflect the wishes of the people.”