Australian rocker Nick Cave spoke about his love for Israel and his decision to stand up against BDS at a press conference ahead of his Sunday and Monday night sold-out performances in Tel Aviv.
Cave said his connection to Israel began years ago during an initial visit.
“People speak about loving a nation, but I felt a kind of connection that I couldn’t really describe,” he said.
Cave recalled that his 1997 album “The Boatman’s Call” didn’t do well in Israel and he didn’t include Israel in that tour — both because it was thought his music wasn’t popular here, and due to the logistical complications of bringing a tour to Israel.
“And if you do come here,” he added, “you have to go through public humiliation from Roger Waters and his partners and no one wants to embarrass themselves publicly,” he said.
The Australian rocker took heat from Israel boycott activists for this week’s concerts, with Artists for Palestine UK asking the Bad Seeds lead singer to cancel the shows in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.
“For 20 years, I said, ‘let’s give it up,” Cave said of plans to come to Israel. “A few years ago, Brian Eno sent me a letter and asked me to sign it to shut out Israel, and I sent a letter back that said I wouldn’t sign. I understood that I wouldn’t sign but I also wouldn’t perform in Israel — and that seemed like I was acting scared. So I called my people and asked that we perform in Israel.”
Said Cave: “It suddenly became very important to make a stand, to me, against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians.”
Cave elaborated that he was in Israel for two reasons: “I love Israel and I love Israeli people,” he said, and he wanted to take “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.”
Cave also spoke about the family trauma his family experienced in the last year, when his 15-year-old son fell from a cliff and died while under the influence of LSD.
Cave’s son had never taken LSD before, and didn’t know anything about it, said Cave.
“He was just a curious kid, and went out and had an accident and died, but it was an accident,” said Cave. “I don’t have a traditional stand against the use of drugs. Maybe I should. My wife and I are very involved parents, who love our kids very much.”
When his son died, said Cave, he felt a tremendous need to get everything out of his system and perform before as many people as possible, “to have something good come out of all this.”