Roger Waters Criticizes Nick Cave for Upcoming Concert in Israel

Ex-Pink Floyd front man wonders whether Cave, Thom Yorke would still perform in Israel if they 'were to spend even a day or two' in prison without trial

Musician Nick Cave in 2016.
Kerry Brown

Australian rock star Nick Cave is facing renewed calls to cancel his November concerts in Israel, with Roger Waters among the signatories of an open letter posted Monday on the Artists for Palestine U.K. website.

In a letter to Cave and his band the Bad Seeds, signed by some 25 artists, academics and political activists, the activists write: “Don’t go – not while apartheid remains. Stand true to your support for those who opposed Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Stand for freedom.” Others signatories include British filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, actor Julie Christie and musician Thurston Moore.

Waters, who is well-known for his boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and calls for a cultural boycott of Israel, also wrote his own personal message on the website about the performances by Cave and Canadian singer Bryan Adams.

“I wonder if Nick and Bryan 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,” he wrote.

Last summer, Waters applied heavy pressure on Radiohead, unsuccessfully trying to dissuade the band from performing in Tel Aviv. Radiohead front man Yorke told Waters before their visit: “You’re not bringing people together. You’re not encouraging dialogue or a sense of understanding. Now if you’re talking about trying to make things progress in any society, if you create division, what do you get? You get fucking Theresa May. You get Netanyahu, you get fucking Trump. That’s divisive.”

Israeli BDS supporters also published an open letter to Cave, asking him to cancel his appearances in Israel because of the “occupation, repression and ethnic cleansing.”

Cave is scheduled to appear in Tel Aviv on November 20-21, and tickets to both of the shows sold out within days. Cave first appeared in Israel in 1993, and has subsequently returned two more times. Adams, meanwhile, is scheduled to play in Tel Aviv on December 4-5 and Jerusalem on December 6.

Cave has yet to respond to the open letter by BDS activists or Waters' message. Waters references Cave's children, although one of Cave's four children, Arthur, died in July 2015 when he fell off a cliff in Brighton, England, after taking LSD.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have released 16 albums since forming in 1983, with their most recent album, "Skeleton Tree," being released in September 2016.