Nick Cave to Brian Eno: cultural boycott of Israel is 'cowardly and shameful'

Written by
Time Out Tel Aviv Writers
Musician Nick Cave published an email he sent last year to the music producer Brian Eno in response to his pleas not to perform in Israel. He noted that Eno is one of his musical heroes, but he opposes the boycott he supports
Nick Cave published his letter to music producer Brian Eno on Tuesday, urging him to cancel his visit to Israel last year. Eno is considered one of the greatest supporter of the boycott on Israel, alongside Roger Waters who made headlines himself a few days ago.
The publication of the letter came in response to a fan interested in Cave's position on the boycott - Cave allows fans to ask questions on his website and answers them. Cave responded that before his appearance in Israel last year many officials tried to dissuade him from coming. At the time, Cave addressed the issue at a press conference and said: "It suddenly became very important to make a stand against these people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians".

Now Cave reveals that at the same time he also sent a personal e-mail to Eno - which he posted in the Q&A session on his website. He wrote to the fan that, in light of the many questions on the subject, he is publishing the correspondence between Eno and him, after the latter wrote to him in an attempt to persuade him to retract his declaration of performances in Israel.

Nick Cave © GettyImages

“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,” Cave wrote, adding that Palestinian suffering “is ended via a comprehensive and just solution, one that involves enormous political will on both sides”. He also mentioned his own charity work that raised £150,000 for the pro-Palestine Hoping Foundation. “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.” 

After adding the correspondence between Eno and himself, Cave added: “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.” 

In conclusion, Cave added that he occasionally debated whether he had made the right decision “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.”

Roger Waters, another prominent BDS supporter, made headlines two days ago when he influenced a band of Pink Floyd covers not to perform in Israel. He wrote on his Facebook page that he was "amazed" by the band's intentions to come and begged them not to do so. "To sing my songs in front of segregated audiences in Israel, and contribute to the cultural whitewashing of the racist and apartheid government, would be an act of unconscionable malice and disrespect," he wrote, adding a picture of a wounded Palestinian child. The pressure worked, and UK Pink Floyd Experience did cancel their arrival planned for the next month.

You may also like
You may also like