On July 19th, Radiohead are scheduled to play a controversial concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, which had drawn the ire of Palestinian activists because of its direct transgression of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS aims to promote a cultural boycott of Israel, pressuring Israel’s government, until leaders in the region begin to welcome Palestinians and tear down the West Bank barrier.
The BDS movement believes in pressuring Israel’s government by withdrawing all business and government support, including cultural. A large group of Radiohead’s contemporaries, including Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, have also signed an open letter requesting the show’s cancellation.
Radiohead frontman had previously admitted that the criticism was getting to him, saying that “I’ll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting. I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all.”
One of the more prominent signees to the letter was celebrated director Ken Loach, who took the extra mile to write his own op-ed in the Independent. “I don’t know who is advising Radiohead,” Loach wrote. “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 tweeted the article to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, quoting a popular phrase “Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or with the oppressor. The choice is simple.”
Yorke responded to Loach via Twitter, stating “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government.” As an example, he pointed out that Radiohead still play shows in America despite their disapproval of Trump’s politics. He added, “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.”
Check out the full tweet below.
— Thom Yorke (@thomyorke) July 11, 2017