Open letter to Nick Cave: ‘Don’t go – not while apartheid remains.’

October 30th, 2017, London.

Dear Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds,

You are scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on 19th & 20th November. Please don’t go.

In the words of a recent UN report, ‘Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people’.

Domination means Palestinian writers under house arrest. Literary festivals broken up. Travel bans for actors and musicians. Social media under surveillance. Media centres raided and plundered. The normalized use of military force against a captive population. The steady expansion of illegal settlements.

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. It is seen as public approval for the status quo: that’s why Israel’s foreign affairs ministry celebrated Radiohead’s visit last July, while its media proclaimed their appearance as ‘the best hasbara Israel has received lately’.

Noam Chomsky has recently said he’s opposed to any appearance in Israel that is used to cover up the denial of Palestinian human rights. We hope you will agree with him.

Don’t go – not while apartheid remains. Stand true to your support for those who opposed Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Stand for freedom.

Yours sincerely,

Tunde Adebimpe
Saleh Bakri
Breyten Breytenbach
Judith Butler
Carmen Callil
Julie Christie
Molly Crabapple
Angela Davis

Kate Grenville
Ronnie Kasrils
Kathryn Kelly
AL Kennedy
Deborah Kingsland
Marc Lamont Hill
Mike Leigh
Ken Loach
Thurston Moore
Nurit Peled
John Pilger
Michael Rosen
Samah Sabawi
Ahdaf Soueif
Roger Waters
Penny Woolcock

19 thoughts on “Open letter to Nick Cave: ‘Don’t go – not while apartheid remains.’

  1. Zoe says:

    New Yorkers on the list now! So pleased that my fellow New Yorker & one of my most loved musicians Tunde Adebimpe is on this list of yours now. Three kisses for him. And I used to know Thurston’s bandmate Lee Renaldo in 1981 when Lee was telling me he was “rehearsing with this new band” but they hadn’t played anywhere or recorded anything yet… lol… He was once worried my acetate fiber dress was flammable… Sorry for the digression…

    One wonders what is going on w/ Nick Cave here. (I just left a comment about this on the last post about the same subject. Some possible reasons…). It’s surprising. He was friends w/ Blixa Bargeld of EN in Berlin. They were not exactly the picture of conformity – lol – the two of them running around the still not renovated & entropic looking then city. So it’s more than a little bit weird that Mr.Cave is propping up this fascistic state / Apartheid state. (Whilst still wearing all black most likely?).

    Please help our people People. Please listen to Palestinians themselves vs experts & talking heads who are NOT Palestinian. Think w/ your heart not w/ your head. The head is often wrong.

    Please don’t go Mr.Nick Cave.


  2. H.Moola says:

    Nick Cave….stop for a moment…ask yourself….WHAT would the Israeli reaction be, if you chose to perform in Occupied Palestine….
    Among other spiteful measures:
    You will find your entourage being seperated an interrogated for hours, searched , strip sesrched & eventually cavity searched by 18 -20 year old kids armed with military grade weapons almost as long as them. The equipment will be dismantled based on somebody’s gut feeling.
    Eventually, a few of you will be detained for futher questioning while the rest pass through.
    Ofcourse…..lets not foget the check pointS… the time the Israelis finish their ‘security checks’…..the concert will have to be cancelled.
    Nowwww…..that is what Israeli de-moc-racy is all about.
    its oppression , victimisation, cunning, spitefulness , deceit, delay, dehumanise and hold captive an entire population.
    For a people who claim to have been persecuted throughout history , one would expect them to show compassion, instead they have mastered the art of persecution & oppression.


    • Zoe says:

      Perhaps for these visiting performers – who the Israeli State uses for *public relations* purposes – they only partially strip search them.


  3. Andy Gill says:


    Roger Waters’ letter is full of misinformation. That “recent UN report” was published by a group of 18 Arab countries that did not receive permission from the UN secretariat to publish the damning document, and the UN Secretary-General distanced himself from the report.

    We all know that BDS lies about “Israeli apartheid”. Arabs serve in the Knesset, and judiciary and have full human rights under the law. Arabic is one of Israel’s official languages. Jews and Arabs study together in universities. Some of the finest units in the Israeli Defence Forces are Arab (Druze fighters, Bedouin trackers). AN Arab woman even won an Israeli beauty contest recently.

    Secondly, Israel’s record on LGBT rights is exemplary. Gays serve openly in the IDF; Dana International, a trans woman is a popular Israeli singer and represented Israel at Eurovision.

    The picture that Roger Waters and BDS paint of Israel has no connection to reality; it is a smear job I’m afraid.

    Go to Israel and see for yourself.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. H.Moola says:

    Andy Grill…perhaps you should look at Israel from a Palestinian neighbourhood and if you have the stomach, try a view from the occupied areas.

    When children younger than 10 years of age are arrested by ARMED soldiers, it SHOULD set off alarm bells.

    I lived through Aparheid in South Africa – but Israel is much much worse.

    Israel cannot suppress and oppress the Palestinians forever…..besides, time & demographics are agsinsts the Israelis.

    Justice must prevail, it is the only way forward.


    • Zoe says:

      Thank you H.Moola. For the voice of reason. I have heard others say this about South Africa vs Palestine.

      I did not bother to answer these comments about the “Knesset” etc. which do not even begin to address the serious issues facing Palestinians. He ignores the illegally occupied ‘territories’ (Palestine). (Leaving out of it the illegally occupied Golan Heights in Syria & the Farms in South Lebanon & continuing attacks on South Lebanon through the years). There is a confusion people have over this.

      They seem to think that because illegal Israeli settlers in Palestine fall under Israeli govt rule that Palestinians are represented as well… ? Perhaps confusion over 1948 vs 1967 borders… ?

      It is difficult to have a dialogue w/ people when they don’t understand the basic parameters & situation & who is involved.
      Where does one begin? I find it exasperating. A “beauty queen”. Lol. Please be merciful. It’s exhausting.


    • says:

      Clearly you did not live through Apartheid in South Africa, for starters you can’t even spell the word.
      I suggest you visit Israel.

      When in South Africa did black children have the same education as white.?
      When did black and white have the same employment opportunities, or the same level of health care?

      The highest judge in the land is an Arab, some of the top military people are Arabs, there are Arabs in every walk of life and in every trade.

      Since the first Knesset in 1949 there has been Arab representation.


  5. Stan Squires says:

    I am from Vancouver,Canada and I wanted to say that if Nick Cave goes to Israel he should be condemned for the rest of his life for going back on his promise to support Palestine.Playing in Israel is support for Israeli Apartheid and Nick Cave knows that.He should listen to the other well known singers who boycotted Israel and were supported for that throughout the world.If Nick Cave goes to Israel he will be condemned throughout the world.


    • Jonah Swift says:

      How tolerant and progressive of you to suggest Nick Cave be condemned for the rest of his career! Yes, in case you missed it, that was meant with as much sarcasm as possible.

      Not suprising to see such self-righteous hypocrisy from a blowhard like Roger Waters. I’m sad that these other artists I admire have joined the liberal censorship train.

      Are you all also calling for boycotts and condemnation of academics who attend conferences in Israel? What about artists from other fields besides music? Just curious, as I haven’t heard of any such.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. klaas says:

    Nick Cave is absolutely right. He can do whatever he wants to do, he’s an artist. Art is at it’s lowest since it lacks good criticism and now the progressive church is being politically sanctified telling him where to perform?! What’s next? Which songs he should stop playing!? Shame on his colleagues.


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