The controversy over Radiohead’s upcoming gig in Israel shows no signs of abating after Thom Yorke took to Twitter to counter film director Ken Loach’s accusation that the band “supports apartheid”.
Radiohead are scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on July 19. They have faced calls to cancel the gig and an open letter from Artists For Palestine UK – whose signatories include Roger Waters, Young Fathers and Thurston Moore – has asked the band to reconsider playing the gig.
The debate is split along two very distinct positions. The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement argues that the Israeli government’s position on human rights violations against Palestinians should be pressured by withdrawing all business, cultural and government support for Israel. Those arguing from Radiohead’s point of view believe that BDS policy prevents necessary dialogue and cultural interactions that could create a positive impact in Israel.
Writing in The Independent, film director Ken Loach said: “I don’t know who is advising Radiohead, but their 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.”
He added: “Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or with the oppressor.”
Taking to Twitter, Thom Yorke said: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its 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.”