Artists to Lorde: individual messages of support

On 5 January 2018, more than a hundred international artists signed a letter to the Guardian in the UK in support of New Zealand singer Lorde’s decision to cancel her gig in Tel Aviv later this year.
Since then, some of those signatories have given APUK permission to publish the personal letters they’ve also written to Lorde.   We’re happy to share, amongst others, Brian Eno’s and Roger Waters’ moving expressions of solidarity and support, while Peter Gabriel’s message affirms the need for artists to stand up for human rights.  We’re also reproducing below some of the many messages artists have posted in support of Lorde on social media or via this site.


Brian Eno, musician



Roger Waters, musician

Dear Lorde,
As Ken Loach has ​expressed, “You either stand with the oppressed or you stand with the oppressor.” There is no middle ground. To your great credit, Lorde, you have chosen to stand with the oppressed. You are a brave woman, it is not an easy path to take​, but you set an example for others who are afraid to speak out. You give a voice to the voiceless.
We welcome you and thank you.
Love R.



Peter Gabriel, musician



John Cusack, actor


Ken Loach, director




Michael Moore, director


Thurston Moore, musician


William Dalrymple, writer


Graham Linehan, comedy writer and director


Neil Finn, musician


Lily Allen, musician


Reverend and the Makers, band


Caroline Bergvall, writer and artist

I am really shocked by the bullish reaction by political powers to Lorde’s decision not to perform in Israel later this year.

I stand with her and with fellow artists in protecting our right to speak out and for Lorde to reach her own decisions of conscience even if this means such a public cancellation.

I’m certain many of her fans in Israel will understand and support her move. It is a move of friendship and inclusivity for a bigger world.



Naomi Wallace, playwright, screenwriter

Lorde has made a brave choice for justice and freedom. It is a typical tactic of those who oppose Palestinian civil rights to attempt to smear such courage with charges of anti-semitism.  The purpose is to send out a warning to other artists not to speak out against the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.  These forces of reaction will not succeed.  Let us follow Lorde’s example.  Let all artists of conscience heed the call by the Movement for Black Lives to endorse the BDS movement.


Nabil Shaban, actor and director

Why should Lorde be made to perform for Israel.  If she were to refuse to perform for Putin or Kim in North Korea, she would be praised as an international hero, worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, but because the USA establishment supports and funds Israel’s special brand of apartheid, she is demonised. This is wrong.


Eric Boehlert, music journalist


Fatima Bhutto, writer


Shaun King, writer


Tim London, producer


Scot Williams, actor


Rebecca Vilkomerson, human rights defender 


Noura Erekat, human rights defender


Hind Awwad, human rights defender



Artists respond to Nick Cave’s comments

Nick Cave has held a press conference in Israel, in which he explained he ‘decided to play in Israel to stand up to ‘anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians’According to the NME: The musician explained that his change in attitude came about when Brian Eno asked him to a sign a list called Artists For Palestine three years ago. “On a very intuitive level, [I] did not want to sign it,” he said. “There was something that stunk to me about that list.”

“So after a lot of thought and consideration I rang up my people and said, ‘We’re doing an European tour and Israel.’ Because 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 reasons why I’m here. 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. ”’ 

Today, in addition to a statement from Artists for Palestine UK, we are publishing a number responses to Cave’s comments from individual artists.

*UPDATE Thurston Moore comment added on 25.11.2017

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Don’t play Berlin Pop-Kultur under Israeli Embassy sponsorship!


‘Art goes beyond a single act on a stage; it’s against all that is regressive and discriminatory in this world’
Mohammad Abu Hajar, Syrian rapper

Dear colleagues:

When you signed up to play Berlin Pop-Kultur, you possibly didn’t know that the Israeli Embassy in Germany was a sponsor.   Maybe you also don’t know that Palestinian civil society, living under Israeli military occupation or in exile, is appealing to artists not to take part in events sponsored by the state of Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinians’ long struggle for rights and freedom.

But now that you do know, will you follow the example of the musicians who have withdrawn from Pop-Kultur in the past few days?

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Italian press reports opposition to state-sponsored Israeli dance performance, citing letter from Brian Eno

Batsheva Dance Company show in Jerusalem

Batsheva dancers in rehearsal in Jerusalem.                     Credit: EPA/ABIR SULTAN


UPDATE 11 Sept: Il Fatto Quotidiano today printed a full page interview with Eno.


Italian newspapers are reporting opposition to Israeli state sponsorship of a performance by Batsheva dance company, due to take place tomorrow (Sept 6) in Turin.

La Republica has published in full a letter sent in June to Batsheva’s artistic director Ohad Naharin by composer Brian Eno, explaining why he has withdrawn permission for his music to be used in the performance. La Stampa has quoted from it and the story has been picked up by Italian news agency ANSA.

See here a translation by Stephanie Westbrook of BDS Italia of the Republica article, plus the text of Brian Eno’s letter.

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Oscar nominees: ‘Give your Israeli swag bag to a Palestinian refugee!’

Artists for Palestine UK (APUK) on Wednesday called on actors and directors on this year’s Oscars shortlist:  ‘Give your Israeli swag bag to a Palestinian refugee!’


  • Mike Leigh, film director and five-times Oscar nominee said:  A five-star trip to the land of their parents and grandparents is just what exhausted Palestinians from the refugee camps could do with. I think the world would be happy to see Israeli government money used for once to make reparations to Palestinians — and I hope the stars will agree.’
  • Ken Loach, BAFTA nominee and Palme d’Or winner said: “Just think what $55,000 could do for Palestinians whose homes have been destroyed and their lands stolen.  Let’s hope that film people can see through this crude propaganda.”
  • Brian Eno, musician and composer suggested an alternative swag bag offering: “Visit Palestine! Enjoy a tear-gas filled weekend in an East Jerusalem ghetto!

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Art is the velvet glove on Israel’s iron fist – Brian Eno in Apollo magazine

International art magazine Apollo devotes its December double-page  Forum discussion to the question, “Are artists justified in boycotting Israel?”

The debate can be viewed online here. We review it below.
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Musicians Should Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Are Free

Musician Brian Eno, signatory of the UK Artists’ Pledge for Palestine, and Ohal Grietzer , a musician and activist with the Israeli group BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, made the following joint contribution to public discussion about the cultural boycott of Israel on

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