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Nick Cave Latest Target of Bully Roger Waters’ Boycott Israel Campaign

Australian alternative rocker Nick Cave, photographed in London in September 2014
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – Nick Cave and his band are the latest targets of Roger Waters’ bullying campaign aimed at preventing the singer from playing in “apartheid” Israel next month. 

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are scheduled to play two gigs in Tel Aviv next month, but proponents of the BDS movement against Israel, led by Waters, have sent an open letter to Cave full of misinformation and outright lies in an attempt to guilt the artist into cancelling the show.

The letter, authored by Artists For Palestine UK, which counts Waters and Thurston Moore among others as members, begins by saying that “in the words of a recent UN report, ‘Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people.'”

The report was published in May 2017 by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), a body comprised of 18 Arab countries that did not receive permission from the UN secretariat to publish the damning document. At the time, the UN Secretary-General distanced himself from the report and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley demanded its withdrawal altogether.

The letter continues by listing Israel’s alleged “crimes” including, “Media centres raided and plundered. The normalized use of military force against a captive population. The steady expansion of illegal settlements.”

The letter continued: “These are crimes. But when international artists of your stature, despite the appeals of Palestinians, continue to turn up on Israeli stages, the government which promotes these crimes takes heart: whatever it does, it seems there will be no penalty.

“Like others who’ve added Tel Aviv to their touring schedule, you may say that you oppose Netanyahu. But it matters little whether or not artists endorse Israel’s government. It’s the fact they’re willing to perform in Israel that is important.”

In a separate letter, Waters called on the band to “heed the cry” and cancel the concert.

Waters, who has in the past compared Israel to Nazi Germany, uses bullying tactics to persuade other musicians not to perform in the Jewish state. His most recent target was Radiohead, who defied Waters’ attempts at intimidation and performed in Tel Aviv in July. Waters told the band to “think again” about playing in a country “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people.” But the band ignored the call to boycott, with Thom Yorke telling Rolling Stone magazine that it was “deeply distressing” that Waters and other BDS activists “choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw s**t at us in public.”

While a few artists, including Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill, caved to pressure from the BDS movement, most have ignored it, with Tel Aviv seeing concerts from the likes of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Santana, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi in recent years.

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