Three weeks ahead of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ performances at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena, the Australian rocker is taking heat from Israel boycott activists, with Artists for Palestine UK asking the band to reconsider its concerts.
Led by Roger Waters and joined by Thurston Moore, directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, actress Julie Christie and others, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction activists asked the Bad Seeds lead singer to cancel the show in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.
Waters wrote, “I wonder if Nick and Bryan [Adams, scheduled to play in Israel in December] and Thom Yorke and the rest of these guys were to spend even a day or two in administrative detention [without charge or trial], or even once have their kids woken and arrested in the middle of the night, or, or, or……whether they would still ignore the screams of the victims and the desperate pleas for help from Palestinian civil society, whether they would still cross the picket line. … You can either heed the cry, respect your brothers’ and sisters’ picket line and stand with them in their struggle for the basic human rights we all take for granted, or you can turn your backs on them, take the shilling, and entertain their lords and masters at the banquets and balls.”
Tickets to both of Cave’s shows, on November 19 and 20, sold out within days. Canadian singer Adams, meanwhile, is scheduled to play in Tel Aviv on December 4-5 and Jerusalem on December 6.
Waters made similar comments ahead of Radiohead’s summer 2017 concert in Israel, beginning a heated exchange with Thom Yorke. The band, beloved to Israelis, went on to perform one of their longest concerts in years.
Cave and the Bad Seeds haven’t performed in Israel since 1995 and 1993 prior to that. Israeli audiences love his emotionally intense music and lyrics focused on death, religion, love and violence.
In the years since his last performance in Israel, Cave’s songs have become known to a wider, younger audience through the soundtracks for Hollywood blockbusters “Batman Forever,” “The X-Files,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “Scream,” “Scream 2” and “Scream 3,” “Hellboy,” “Shrek 2” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”