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Nick Cave: ‘Ik vind de culturele boycot van Israël laf en schandalig’

Nick Cave is een baas

Door: , 17:02, 12 december 2018
Australian singer Nick Cave performs on the stage of the Auditorium Stravinski during the 52nd annual Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland, 12 July 2018. The event runs from 29 June to 14 July. EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Nick Cave is een baas

Nick Cave heeft zijn beslissing om in Israël op te treden in een open brief verdedigd. De brief, die online staat, is gericht aan Brian Eno en de zogenoemde Artists for Palestine, waartoe ook Roger Waters van Pink Floyd behoort. Zij riepen de Australische Cave op om niet in Israël op te treden zolang daar “apartheid bestaat”.

“Ik vind de culturele boycot van Israël laf en schandalig”, schrijft Cave in de brief. “Sterker nog: dat is een van mijn redenen om in Israël op te treden. Dat doe ik niet om welke politieke beweging dan ook te steunen, maar om me te verzetten tegen hen die muzikanten monddood proberen te maken.”

Verder zegt Cave, die benadrukt dat hij 150.000 pond heeft opgehaald voor Palestijnse kinderen, dat hij zich bewust is van de problemen in Israël. Hij schrijft niet blind te zijn voor het leed van de Palestijnen. Volgens de muzikant gaat de discussie over optreden in Israël uiteindelijk over “het doel van muziek”. Cave vindt het veel sterker om in Israël kritiek te uiten, dan om tot een boycot over te gaan.



Open letter from Nick Cave

Dear Brian,

Clearly the decision for The Bad Seeds to play in Israel is contentious for some people. But to be clear on this: 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. I am aware of the injustices suffered by the Palestinian population, and wish, with all people of good conscience, that their suffering is ended via a comprehensive and just solution, one that involves enormous political will on both sides of the equation. As you know, 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.

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. In fact, this is partly the reason I am playing Israel – not as support for any particular political entity but as a principled stand against those who wish to bully, shame and silence musicians. I don’t intend to engage in a detailed discussion as to how the boycott of Israel can be seen to be anti-Semitic at heart and, furthermore, does not work (rather, it risks further entrenching positions in Israel in opposition to those you support), but even the estimable Noam Chomsky considers the BDS as lacking legitimacy and inherently hypocritical. What we actually have here is a fundamental difference of opinion as to what the purpose of music is.

It struck me while writing this how much more powerful a statement you could make if you were to go to Israel and tell the press and the Israeli people how you feel about their current regime, then do a concert on the understanding that the purpose of your music was to speak to the Israeli people’s better angels. That would have a much greater effect than a boycott. Now imagine if the 1,200 UK artists who signed your list did the same thing. Perhaps the Israelis would respond in a wholly different way than they would to just yet more age-old rejectionism. Ultimately, whatever the rights and wrongs of official Israeli action in the disputed territories, Israel is a real, vibrant, functioning democracy – yes, with Arab members of parliament – and so engaging with Israelis, who vote, may be more helpful than scaring off artists or shutting down means of engagement.

All the best to you,



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