Middle East

Nick Cave reject Israel boycott calls

Australian rock legend Nick Cave says pressure on musicians not to perform in Israel is similar to bullying and censorship.

Nick Cave, the dark poet of rock, says he's taking a "principled stand" against activists working to ostracise the Jewish state and people who tried to boycott his performances in the country.

At a press conference on Sunday, the Australian spoke about the logistical challenges of playing in Israel then said musicians also endure pressure from an international movement known as BDS that seeks to ostracise Israel by lobbying corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with the Jewish state.

He said record producer Brian Eno had asked him three years ago to sign a boycott list.

"On a very intuitive level I did not want to sign that list, there was something that stunk to me about that list," Cave said.

"And then it kind of occurred to me that I'm not signing the list but I'm also not playing Israel and that just felt to me cowardly really."

Cave said "it suddenly became very important to make a stand against those people that are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians to censor musicians and to silence musicians".

He said after much thought and consideration he decided to play Israel on his tour this year.

"So at the end of the day there are two reasons why I am here. One is that I love Israel and I love Israeli people and two is to make a principled stand against anyone who wants to censor and silence musicians," Cave said.

"So really you could say in a way that the BDS made me play Israel," he said.

The boycott movement, also called the BDS movement, advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in what its supporters say is a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian cause.

Israel says the campaign goes beyond fighting its occupation of territory Palestinians claim for a state and often masks a more far-reaching aim to delegitimise or destroy the Jewish state.

A long list of artists including Metallica, Madonna, Elton John, Rihanna, Ozzy Osbourne and others ignore the pressure and continue to perform in Israel.

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