Nick Cave boldly defied the wrath of Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Thurston Moore and the rest of the BDS movement that attempted to convince The Bad Seeds to boycott their planned performance in Israel.
However, the show went ahead as planned an marked Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ first return to the country in 20 years. The BDS movement, who have already clashed with Thom Yorke and Radiohead over their recent appearance in the country, attempts to assert boycotts against Israel in what their supporters say is a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian cause.
Cave, however, explained he believes the movement is an attempt to bully musicians and artists by removing their expression. The Australian also explained how he refused to sign a protest list a few years ago and has felt “cowardly” having not returned to the country after their 1997 record The Boatman’s Call flopped in Israel.
“People speak about loving a nation, but I felt a kind of connection that I couldn’t really describe,” he said at a press conference. “And if you do come here,” he added, “you have to go through public humiliation from Roger Waters and his partners and no one wants to embarrass themselves publicly.”
“For 20 years, I said, ‘let’s give it up,” Cave said of plans to come to Israel. “A few years ago, Brian Eno sent me a letter and asked me to sign it to shut out Israel, and I sent a letter back that said I wouldn’t sign. I understood that I wouldn’t sign but I also wouldn’t perform in Israel — and that seemed like I was acting scared. So I called my people and asked that we perform in Israel.
“It suddenly became very important to make a stand, to me, against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians.
“I love Israel and I love Israeli people,” he said, and he wanted to take “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.”