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March 7, 2022 5:03 pm

Australian Singer Nick Cave: Don’t Compare Russia’s War in Ukraine to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Acclaimed Australian rock musician Nick Cave. Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter.

Australian singer Nick Cave has dismissed comparisons between the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, after his support for the Ukrainian cause drew some criticism on social media.

Cave, 64, and his band the Bad Seeds are set to perform in Israel on Aug. 23, and have refused to cancel the concert despite pressure from supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to isolate Israel internationally.

Separately, the band announced that it will not perform planned summer concerts in Russia and Ukraine due to the war, which entered its 12th day on Monday, and expressed support for the latter country.

“Our thoughts and love go to the brave people of Ukraine, their heroic leader, and all those suffering from this senseless war,” Cave and the Bad Seeds said in a March 1 statement. “Ukraine, we stand with you, and with all those in Russia who oppose this brutal act. And we pray that this madness is brought to a close soon.”

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Cave was asked about the decision on social media by a Turkish fan named Ahmet, who was disappointed that the singer “expressed clear and undivided solidarity with the Ukrainians,” but hadn’t “expressed such a support for the Palestinian people.” The fan accused Cave of displaying a “double standard,” arguing that Israel is “first and foremost the party responsible from the Palestinian suffering.”

The singer, who has performed multiple times in Israel, responded to the inquiry in the latest issue of his newsletter, called “The Red Hand Files.”

“There is little I can disagree with in your letter, other than to say that the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is simply not the same thing as the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine; one is a brutal unprovoked attack on one state by another, in the hope of revising the entire security structure of Europe, and the other is a deeply complex clash of two nations that is far from straightforward,” Cave asserted.

He added, “What the two conflicts do share is the tragic fate of all innocents who must cower in bomb shelters in fear of their lives, and I sympathize deeply with all such communities wherever — and whoever — they are.”

The Bad Seeds frontman, who has previously called cultural boycott of Israel “cowardly and shameful,” also wrote in his newsletter that he does support the Palestinian people and “over the last twenty years has taken part in several events to raise money for schools within their communities.”

He further said, “Right now, a catastrophe is unfolding and I stand with all Ukrainians at this horrific moment in history. I would like nothing more than to play in Kyiv and I was very much looking forward to our show there. I also have some wonderful fans in Russia … If I could play for those people too, I would. At this time let us just stand together with the people of Ukraine, and all those who cherish freedom and principles of national self-determination and want to live in peace and security with their neighbors.”

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