Nick Doesn’t Cave
In his November 18th press conference prior to his two sold-out Tel Aviv concerts, Nick Cave explained why he was defying demands that he cancel these performances. “It suddenly became very important,” Cave said, “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 was referring specifically to the open letter from the BDS-backed ‘Artists For Palestine’ – signed by personalities that include Roger Waters, Angela Davis and Thurston Moore – that employed such aggressively defamatory terms as ‘raiding and plundering’, ‘promotion of crimes’ and ‘apartheid regime’ to describe Israeli policies. If musicians choose to tour in Israel, Cave pointed out, they “have to go through a sort of public humiliation from Roger Waters and company.” Cave concluded with a boldly triumphant refute of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions’ efforts: “So really, you could say, in a way, that the BDS made me play Israel,” he said.
“We hurl our glasses into the fire of your arrogant unconcern, and smash our bracelets on the rock of your implacable indifference,” Roger Waters responded, scoffing at Cave’s assertion that BDS demands for the cultural boycott of Israel is a form of artistic censorship. However, artists ranging from Paul McCartney to Radiohead to Gloria Gaynor have all described the bullying tactics of the boycott Israel movement and its self-designated spokesperson Waters. And it has become increasingly clear that Waters and company have something more in mind than changing Israel’s policies and promoting the rights of Palestinians: the BDS movement seeks to impose one-sided political change on Israel and is attempting to use strategies of disinformation to defame and isolate the country. Many in the BDS movement openly concede that their ultimate aim is to undermine the country’s legitimacy and even its right to exist. And boycotters who wish to keep artists out of Israel do so with the hope of turning it into a pariah state that will be generally vilified and rejected.
The Creative Community For Peace strongly believes that any orchestrated effort to silence artists is dangerously misplaced and counterproductive, and we support the courage of performers like Nick Cave, as well as Thom Yorke, Alan Parsons, Ozzy Osbourne, Morrissey, Boy George, Jerry Seinfeld, Charles Aznavour, Jon Bon Jovi, Carlos Santana and scores of other artists who have recently defied BDS demands to cancel their Israel tours. CCFP knows that concerts in Israel – despite being a place where audiences of Jews, Arabs and Muslims can come together in peace – won’t solve the conflict. But for Roger Waters, championing a movement that engages in artistic censorship and seeks to keep Israelis and Palestinians apart will certainly not hasten any peaceful resolution. Furthermore, these demands for cultural boycott seriously misunderstand the role the arts play in broadening dialogue and maintaining sound democracies.
CCFP welcomes discussions of Israel’s policies and actions, but we will not tolerate blatant misinformation, distorted versions of history, or a campaign for an end to the State of Israel. Independent-minded artists such as Nick Cave build bridges of consciousness and connectivity. And through the courage of artists like Cave and others, we can continue to choose to create pathways to peace.