Legendary Australian singer and songwriter Nick Cave slammed ongoing efforts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel, calling such a move "cowardly and shameful."
Writing on his own website Tuesday, Cave said that he had been pressured to cancel his sold-out 2017 shows in Tel Aviv by activists from the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. But, he told his fans in a Q&A on his website, he rejected the call.
To illustrate his position, Cave posted a letter he sent to Brian Eno, one of Britain's most prominent artists, who, alongside Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, supports the BDS movement.
Cave made it clear that he does not support the policies of the Israeli government, but rejected the assumption that appearing in the country constitutes implied approval of those policies.
"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," Cave wrote to Eno.
The musician said that he is aware of the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people and elaborated on the various steps he has taken to offer his assistance, including fundraising. Nevertheless, despite his empathetic understanding of the Palestinians strife, Cave emphasized he does not support the boycott.
"I think the cultural boycott of Israel is cowardly and shameful. In fact, this is partly the reason I am playing Israel–not as support for any particular political entity but as a principled stand against those who wish to bully, shame and silence musicians," he said.
Cave explained that boycott movements could lead to Israel's entrenchment in belligerent positions, and claimed that the decision to appear in Israel and express his opinions there would have a much greater impact.
"Ultimately, whatever the rights and wrongs of official Israeli action in the disputed territories, Israel is a real, vibrant, functioning democracy—yes, with Arab members of parliament—and so engaging with Israelis, who vote, may be more helpful than scaring off artists or shutting down means of engagement," he added.
This is not the first time the famous singer has spoken out against the BDS movement.
At a press conference last year, ahead of his scheduled performances in Tel Aviv, the artist said that his love for Israel and his opposition to the BDS movement were what motivated him to perform in the Jewish state, despite the boycott calls.
"At the end of the day, there are 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. So really, you could say, in a way, that the BDS made me play Israel," he stated.
Earlier this week, the UK Pink Floyd Experience, a Pink Floyd cover band, had canceled its show in Israel following Roger Waters' calls for a boycott.
Similarly, singers Lorde and Lana Del Rey caved in to BDS's pressures and canceled their scheduled performances in Israel earlier this year. On the other hand, Thom York, Radiohead's frontman, who performed in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2017, supported Cave's position and said that "playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing its government."
Israel has hosted multiple megastar musicians in recent years, including the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne