Morrissey has announced two gigs in Israel – his first shows in the country since 2016.
The former Smiths frontman will play Binyamina’s Zappa Amphi Shuni on May 9 and Tel Aviv’s Bitan on May 11.
The shows will be his fourth time performing in Israel. Tickets are on sale now but are limited to 5,000 due to Health Ministry directives.
The musician is the latest to announce shows in Israel despite the ongoing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians” and make Israel comply with international law.
In 2017, Morrissey called the BDS movement “absurd” in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel. “I’m against it,” he said. “It is absurd and narrow-minded. Being politically correct is incorrect. It is absurd. It means forbidding the freedom of speech. This is how the BDS movement sounds to me.”
He continued: “I love this city [Tel Aviv]. The rest of the world does not like Israel well. But the people there are very generous and friendly. You should never judge a people by their government. It is very rare for the government to reflect the wishes of the people.”
Morrissey referenced Israel twice on his 2017 album ‘Low In High School’ – on the songs ‘Israel’ and ‘The Girl From Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel’.
In recent years, the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Radiohead have come under fire for not cancelling gigs in Israel. Of his reasons for playing in the country in 2017, Cave said: “It suddenly became very important to me to make a stand against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians, and to silence musicians.
“At the end of the day, there’s maybe two reason why I’m here,” he explained. “One is that I love Israel and I love Israeli people, and two is to make a principled stand against anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians.”
Radiohead also faced criticism when they performed in the country in 2017, with an open letter signed by the likes of Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, and Young Fathers asking them to “think again” about their decision to go on with the show.
In 2018, Wolf Alice explained why they were supporting a cultural boycott against Israel. Guitarist Joff Oddie said: “We agreed years ago that we wouldn’t go there, but this was about agreeing that we would make it public. It’s been the worst period of violence since the bombings in Gaza in 2014, so [for us] it was just a big kick up the arse to say, look, we do support this.”