Radiohead © Paul GraceThom Yorke has responded to criticism by film director Ken Loach over the band’s upcoming in Tel Aviv. Ken Loach had asked for a meeting with the band to discuss the issue (apparently some of his own films are being shown in Israel which the band could discuss with him…)

In the Independent Ken Loach had written: “Radiohead’s stubborn refusal to engage with the many critics of their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side – the one that supports apartheid… Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or with the oppressor.”

The link to the piece was tweeted to Thom Yorke who replied

“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing the government. We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America.

“We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America.

“Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression. I hope that makes it clear Ken.”

Loach is one of those supporting a cultural boycott of Israel over its actions in Palestine; he, along with the likes of Riz Ahmed, Brian Eno and Caryl Churchill refuse to perform in the country, or take funding from their government or institutions linked to it.

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  1. As far as Loach’s films being shown in Israel, that’s irrelevant; no-one is suggesting that Radiohead should try to stop their records being played on Israeli radio.
    This is about a very specific thing – a live performance in the country. And no gig in the occupied territories or the Gaza strip for the appearance of balance, either.
    And all in the face of requests from the campaigners against Israel’s implementation of apartheid on the palestinians, the illegal settlements funded by Israel in the face of decades of UN resolutions making it clear that these are illegal. Does Thom Yorke really believe he understands Israel / Palestine better than these groups?
    Daniel Barenboim shows how you do cultural ambassadorship for peace – and it isn’t doing one-off gigs (lucrative, no doubt – South Africa used to pay a hefty premium to the few acts who would play at Sun City, I recall).


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