The debate over whether Radiohead’s gig in Tel Aviv should go ahead or not has attracted no end of comment and counter comment. Now, former REM singer Michael Stipe has entered the fray with a message of support for Thom Yorke and his bandmates.
As previously reported on Gigwise, Radiohead’s gig in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night (July 19) has drawn furious criticism from artists supporting the Boycott, Divestment, And Sanctions Movement who believe that a cultural boycott of Israel should be observed.
Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters said that Radiohead should stop “whining” over the cancellation calls and should instead “educate themselves.”
This doesn’t sit well with Michael Stipe who is taking an opposing stance to Waters. Taking to Instagram, the erstwhile REM frontman has publicly declared his support for Radiohead.
“I stand with Radiohead and their decision to perform,” Stipe wrote in a post on Instagram. “Let’s hope a dialogue continues, helping to bring the occupation to an end and lead to a peaceful solution.”
Radiohead have been at the centre of a furious debate over their decision to play Israel. A recent open letter issued by Artists For Palestine UK asked the group to “think again” about performing the gig. The letter’s signatories included Roger Waters, Thurston Moore and Young Fathers.
The open letter stated: “In asking you not to perform in Israel, Palestinians have appealed to you to take one small step to help pressure Israel to end its violation of basic rights and international law. Surely if making a stand against the politics of division, of discrimination and of hate means anything at all, it means standing against it everywhere – and that has to include what happens to Palestinians every day. Otherwise the rest is, to use your words, ‘mere rhetoric’.
You may think that sharing the bill with Israeli musicians Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis, who play Jewish-Arabic music, will make everything OK. It won’t, any more than ‘mixed’ performances in South Africa brought closer the end of the apartheid regime. Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over.”