Last year saw Cave and his band The Bad Seeds perform two shows in Tel Aviv. The musician received criticism from the likes of Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, and Brian Eno – with the Artists For Palestine UK members urging him to cancel the shows “while apartheid remains”.
“Stand true to your support for those who opposed Israel’s attacks on Gaza,” an open letter to Cave concluded. “Stand for freedom.”
Now, the musician has offered more details on his views after a fan took to Cave’s Red Hand Files site with the question: “What are your thoughts on Brian Eno’s stance on Israel?”
Stating that he had “received a number of messages broadly relating to this issue”, Cave says that Eno had “emailed me in the hope of persuading me to reconsider [the shows]” after they were announced. “Below is my reply, which may go some way to answering your question.”
Within the message to Eno, Cave labels the boycott as “cowardly and shameful”, while defending his decision to perform in Israel as a “principled stand against those who wish to bully, shame and silence musicians”.
“I do not support the current government in Israel,” Cave says, “yet do not accept that my decision to play in the country is any kind of tacit support for that government’s policies.” The singer adds that he is “aware of the injustices suffered by the Palestinian population”, and hopes “that their suffering is ended via a comprehensive and just solution”.
He then claims that Noam Chomsky “considers the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement] as lacking legitimacy and inherently hypocritical”.
After sharing the email from last year, Cave reveals that he still views Eno as his ‘hero’.
“The records he made remain some of the most important and essential recordings I have ever heard,” he states. “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.”
Writing about Cave on the Artists For Palestine UK website in November 2017, Brian Eno said: “I admire Nick Cave as an artist and I know he has been generous in his support for Palestinian humanitarian causes. I think he has every right to come to his own conclusions about whether or not he supports BDS.
“However, I think I also have the right to present him with another side to this argument, which I have done – privately, as politely and discreetly as I could. Given the content of his press conference, I think that argument now needs to be restated publicly.”