Israeli officials get to work trumpeting Nick Cave’s latest comments

The minute Nick Cave published a letter yesterday that defended his controversial decision to play in Israel saying –

I do not support the current government in Israel, yet do not accept that my decision to play in the country is any kind of tacit support for that government’s policies.

Israeli officials wasted no time in getting to work trumpeting their support – undermining his effort to put distance between himself and the regime.   Once again, the words and deeds of artists like Nick Cave are used as vital capital in Israel’s ongoing propaganda war against the Palestinian people.

At the time of the Bad Seeds’ concert back in November 2017, Nick Cave received an outpouring of endorsements from unlikely fans in the form of Israeli government officials and diplomats  around the world – which we reproduced here. Radiohead’s appearance received an equally rapturous display of enthusiasm from Israel’s government when they crossed the Palestinian picket line.

Today Galit Peleg, Israeli diplomat, Head of Public Diplomacy at the Consulate General of Israel in New York showed her delight, tweeting:

 

Meanwhile the Israeli government’s official ‘anti-BDS’ app  urged followers to LIKE comments supportive of Nick Cave’s decision. This is the practice known as ‘astroturfing’, coordinating a fake social media hype around a particular issue.

 

 

Sadly, claims made in Cave’s letter (which had been part of a private correspondence with Brian Eno) reveal that he is catastrophically misinformed.

The letter  claims that the Palestinian lands that are illegally occupied by Israel are merely “disputed” and it proposes the notion that  apartheid Israel is in fact “a real, vibrant, functioning democracy”. Both turns of phrase that directly echo the language of Israeli hasbara (advocacy/propaganda) but which reflect neither the reality and nor the language used by any respected human rights organisations nor by international law.

The letter goes on to cite Professor Noam Chomsky to back-up its argument stating: “The estimable Noam Chomsky considers the BDS as lacking legitimacy and inherently hypocritical”.

In order set the record straight we are happy to quote Chomsky on the above claims:

The oft repeated idea that Israel is a “vibrant democracy” is an absurd one. Unless the qualification is purely symbolic, there can be no “democratic Jewish (Christian, Muslim, white) state”. In the case of Israel, the “Jewishness” is very far from symbolic. There is no need to repeat here what I’ve written in the past, documenting extensively Israel’s discriminatory practices.’

And:

‘I am opposed to any appearance in Israel that is used for nationalistic or other propaganda purposes to cover up its occupation and denial of Palestinian human rights. I’ve been involved in activities to hold Israel accountable for its international law violations since before the BDS movement took shape. While I have some tactical differences with the BDS movement, I strongly support the actions and continue to participate in them.’ 

Nick Cave has apparently made his letter to Brian Eno public because his fans continue to ask about his controversial decision to play in Israel.

Brian Eno’s response to Cave’s 2017 press statement in Israel in can found here.

Artists for Palestine UK’s statement  ‘Nick Cave, who is being silenced?” in response to his curious claim that artists like himself are somehow being ‘silenced’, is here. The statement concludes with the words:

We regret that in a land of injustice Nick Cave is giving comfort to the unjust.

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

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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!

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL UK MUSICIANS  SCHEDULED TO APPEAR IN BERLIN AUGUST 23 – 25, 2017

‘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.

eno-interview-sept2016

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 Vice.com.

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