Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is adamant in his defiance of anti-Israel activists and remains determined to perform in Israel, despite calls for him to boycott the Jewish state.
The lead singer of English rock band Radiohead has defended the group’s decision to perform in Israel following vocal criticism from anti-Israel activists advocating for a boycott of the Jewish state.
Thom Yorke took to Twitter, saying, “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.”
“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government,” Yorke stated. “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 [Prime Minister] Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America… I hope that makes it clear Ken.”
Yorke’s comments were in direct response to an open letter penned by filmmaker Ken Loach, a notorious anti-Israel activist, in which he accused Radiohead of ignoring “human rights violations” by Israel. The longstanding spat between Yorke and Loach, one of the most active supporters of a cultural boycott of Israel, has resurfaced in recent months, following Yorke’s response to a petition by boycott campaign group “Artists For Palestine” calling for Radiohead to cancel the final concert of their world tour in Israel.
Yorke responded to the petition in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, saying, “the kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white… I have a problem with that.”
Loach has accused Radiohead of “appearing to endorse or cover up Israeli oppression,” adding that “if they go to Tel Aviv, they may never live it down.” Loach’s latest film, I, Daniel Blake, was screened in Israel and is still being shown in Israeli cinemas.
Radiohead is scheduled to perform at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on July 19, alongside Jewish-Arab band Dudu Tassa and The Kuwaitis.
By: The Tower