Nick Cave, who is being silenced ?

Artists for Palestine UK statement.

Nick Cave has used the opportunity of a press conference in Israel to speak out about ‘silencing’. People around the world will be surprised to read that Cave has chosen not to speak out about the trial of the Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour or the targeting of journalist Makbula Nasser in Israel; nor the indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial of Palestinian artists, journalists and human rights defenders in the occupied West Bank; nor of the denial of permits for Palestinians musicians or of cancer patients seeking to exit Gaza.

Instead Nick Cave complains of having received a letter from fellow musician Brian Eno inviting Cave, in the aftermath of Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza in 2014,  to join with other artists in signing an Artists’ Pledge for Palestine. This new initiative would enable artists to join together to make a collective protest against the apparent willingness of  Western governments to allow Israel to prosecute its well-documented crimes against the Palestinian people without being held to account. Indeed to date more than 1280 British artists and producers have pledged to refuse professional invitations to appear in Israel until such time it respects international law and human rights conventions.

About ‘lists’
 ‘I don’t like lists’  he told the press conference, ‘There was something that stunk to me about that list.’ Cave was free to decline the invitation to add his name to the list of signatories – and he did. Palestinians don’t have a similar choice. Israel’s regime of domination is founded on lists, a system of IDs which control Palestinians’ residency status and freedom of movement. They ensure that a Palestinian with a pass for the occupied West Bank, or within Israel’s borders, or in occupied East Jerusalem, or in besieged Gaza, may not move from one enclave to another, nor congregate freely with other Palestinians. The system of IDs ensures that Palestinians are atomised and isolated, and dependent on their oppressor for their right of residence. The chances are that Nick Cave has no experience of being on such a list – a list that deprives a person of freedom and which silences them.

As an Australian, Cave must know that Israel is not unique in this regard – colonial and apartheid regimes have always divided and controlled indigenous peoples by means of the quiet violence of bureaucratic ‘lists’, backed by police and military force.

Cave: ‘No one wants to be publicly humiliated’
Nick Cave pretends that Artists for Palestine UK’s insistence on the restoration of Palestinian rights somehow infringes the rights of others. But what are we to make of a privileged artist who somehow contrives to turn the notion of a collective protest against the destruction of an entire people into a complaint that it is he that is being silenced? What are we to make of the fact that Cave makes such a statement, but does not care to mention the word  ‘Palestinian’?

Artists for Palestine UK believes it is Palestinians who know the meaning of daily humiliation and silencing.  We regret that in a land of injustice Nick Cave is giving comfort to the unjust.

7 thoughts on “Nick Cave, who is being silenced ?

  1. Zoé says:

    “I don’t like lists” “There was something that stunk to me about that list”

    Lol. I think “that list” has a lovely scent. It has the scent of freedom. An approaching wind that will dissipate years of stagnant & stale oppressive rule… insha’Allah/God willing.

    Mr.Nick Cave is deluding himself if he believes he will not be on a list now. And I’m not referring to Palestinians & their supporters. I’m referring to the list(s) the State of Israel keeps for it’s Orwellian *public relations* purposes. (As was evident after Radiohead played there).

    Lol. At this time it’s simply a matter of putting ourselves on lists before others do it for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charles says:

    I used to love Nick Cave. But now I’m going to get rid of my collection of nearly all his lps going back to the Birthday Party and the Boys Next Door. It’s upsetting, but I can’t take pleasure in listening to his music any more. In these times, the lines of division are taking shape ever more clearly. These are serious times and one either chooses the side of justice or the side of oppression. Nick Cave has chosen the side of oppression. He isn’t who I thought he was.


    • Robert Levy says:

      You shouldn’t do that. I love the music of Brian Eno. He is a genius and nothing will ever shake me of that belief. I love Brian Eno’s music from Roxy Music, the Eno albums, work with David Bowie, Ambient music. It goes on. “Certain streets have certain corners. Sooner or later we’ll turn yours…” I will not give this up. But I disagree with Eno and the others that have totally missed the remarkable aspirations that created the State of Israel. Consider the technology originally offered to Arabs in the region when the Israel was forming. Agricultural science. Irrigation. Arab leaders argued none of it would ever work and that the region could never support the population proposed. History has proven otherwise. I’m disappointed that Brian Eno doesn’t recognize any of this. But you must separate politics from art. I love Wagner’s music too and will not set aside for any political/religious reason of my own lifetime when it’s clear that his music is timeless genius. You don’t have to give up Nick Cave or any other art you take pleasure and believe in. Let art be art. It stands on its own and is transcendent.


      • Zoé says:

        For Robert Levy:

        “…the technology originally offered to Arabs in the the region when the Israel was forming. Agricultural science. Irrigation…”

        Hello Sir. Firstly – are you aware of the history of agriculture & complex irrigation in Southwest Asia? Jewish immigrants from Europe did not *bring* this to “the region when Israel was forming”.

        At the time of the Nakba (disaster/catastrophe) “when Israel was forming” (to quote you this innocent sounding statement describing genocidal actions) Jaffa had a complex & thriving industry shipping oranges all over the world. (This is well documented inc. w/ surviving paperwork & other ephemera & photographs).

        You are engaging in the timeworn Orientalist/Colonialist art of infantalising an ancient people who obviously *were* aware of “irrigation” & “agriculture”; being that their own ancestors perfected it & Europeans brought things like the bath & other new technologies *from* Southwest Asia & North Africa *to* Europe – not the other way round. (Lol – I never saw my elderly very ladylike Berlin grandmother b. in the late 19th c. take a full immersive bath! Many Europeans bathed – albeit thoroughly – with/at the basin only up until the mid 20th c. The Arabs wrote of how strange they thought this was a thousand years earlier! *And* we Lebanese [Phoenicians] invented soap. You’re welcome everyone!).

        The enlightemnent in Europe took place only because “Arabs” preserved important scientific & other writings; which were then translated & read in Europe. Europe had a “Dark Ages” – “Arabs” (inc. Palestinians) did not.

        Secondly – & this is an important matter for the *whole* planet – Palestinians (“Arabs” as you have skillfully referred to them) lived in greater harmony w/ the earth & water. Just as Indigenous Peoples of what became the Americas did. That is a *good* thing & not a *bad* thing.

        Are you aware that water taken for your entitled concept of “irrigation” & “agriculture” for Israelis is diverted from Palestinians who now suffer from having not enough drinking water & water for other very important uses (bathing & caring for the ill & infants etc.)? Israelis have swimming pools whilst Palestinians go without water that they previously had access to (for tens of thousands of years prior). Water is LIFE Sir. Therefore it always astonishes me when Israelis & their supporters put forth this often repeated trope. It is really salt in the occupation wound.

        Do you realise that even the Dead Sea has been & is being drained at alarming proportions – due to that which you are terming an agricultural achievement?

        And this does not even describe the ugly scarring of the Palestinian landscape w/ guntowers & grey prisonlike walls & impassable apartheid system highways.

        I’m in love w/ Mr.Eno’s music/art. I also really *hear* him. Perhaps if you were/are moved by his thoughts/creations as much as you say – you will read a little more on the truth of matters you addressed in your comment. For example there are documentaries on the water situation for Palestinians (& other Indigenous people) & a lot to read on the subject. We lived on that land for tens of thousands of years (along w/ indigenous Oriental Jews & occupying Greeks & Romans & Mamluks[Mongolians] & Turks) *without* ravaging & destroying the land & water; yet the Israeli State has accomplished that destruction in a few decades. Many Indigenous Peoples across the planet would not view that as an accomplishment to be applauded! The same wrong direction is now affecting parts of Arabia.

        I wish you peace & love Sir.



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