Subscribe to our newsletter

Nick Cave writes open letter to Brian Eno calling the Israel boycott "cowardly and shameful"


Nick Cave has hit out at Brian Eno in an open letter which brandishes the cultural boycott of Israel both “cowardly and shameful”. 

Last year Cave went ahead with his controversial performances in Tel-Aviv, Israel despite calls from the likes of Eno, Roger Waters and many others to cancel the shows. Amid the storm of critics, a defiant Nick Cave said at the time that “it suddenly became very important to make a stand against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians, and to silence musicians.”

Cave’s decision to plough through with his planned performance was met by more criticism and a press statement Roger Waters, Brian Eno and others in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement have responded to Cave’s comments branding him arrogant. 

As the debate rumbles on, a fan of Nick Cave brought up the subject of Israel and Palestine as part of his ongoing Q&A series Red Hand Files which welcomes questions from his fans. It was on this platform that Cave took the opportunity to write an open letter to Brian Eno. 

In the lengthy letter, Cave writes: “I do not support the current government in Israel, yet do not accept that my decision to play in the country is any kind of tacit support for that government’s policies. Nor do I condone the atrocities that you have described; nor am I ignorant of them.” He adds, “I have done a considerable amount of work for Palestine through the Hoping Foundation, raising personally around £150,000 for the children of Palestine, so in a sense, I have already played the other side.”

[MORE] – Nick Cave opens up about his “calm, joyful and reckless” friendship with Warren Ellis

Cave continues, “But I also do not support the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions movement, as you know. I think the cultural boycott of Israel is cowardly and shameful.”

Following on from his open letter, Cave continues to comment on the as part of his Red Hand Files post: “Brian Eno, beyond any other musician, taught my friends and me how to make music. The records he made remain some of the most important and essential recordings I have ever heard. So, if there seems to be a thread of anguish that runs through this letter, this is indeed the case. I am writing to my hero.”

Cave finishes up by saying: “Occasionally, I wonder if The Bad Seeds did the right thing in playing Israel. I cannot answer that question. I understand and accept the validity of many of the arguments that are presented to me. Indeed, some of my dearest friends in the music industry found my decision very difficult to accept, but there it is, after much consideration the decision was made: I simply could not treat my Israeli fans with the necessary contempt to do Brian Eno’s bidding.”