Radiohead Addresses The Tel Aviv Controversy: ‘It’s Deeply Disrespectful’

Contributing Writer
06.02.17

Radiohead shared “I Promise” earlier this morning. The track from Radiohead’s upcoming reissue OKNOTOK is a previously unreleased song from around the time of OK Computer. It’s a beautiful song with some particularly stunning vocal work from frontman Thom Yorke, but it’s easy to see how the track ended up on the cutting room floor. Not to say that the song is bad but it doesn’t sound much like the rest of their landmark 1997 album. It wouldn’t have fit in. But with the help of this sad and creepy new video, it just might.

The video for “I Promise” follows a man on a sad and rainy bus ride. Viewers are treated to shots of similarly weary fellow travelers, wet small-town scenes and the curious sort of people who populate damp streets at night all centered around a man resting his head on the bus’ window. Of course, things take a turn for the futuristic and weird toward the end. Give it a watch up top.

In addition to sharing new videos, Yorke has finally revealed how he feels about the controversy over his band playing a show in Tel Aviv, Israel. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said that he completely disagrees with the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (or BDS) movement against that country. And Yorke finds it offensive that fans feel like they can patronize the band over their decision to play in Israel.

This has been extremely upsetting,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of people who don’t agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all, along with J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and a long list of others.”

Yorke also disagreed with the binary, “with us or against us” attitude of people who were upset with the band’s decision.

“The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white,” he said. “I have a problem with that. It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw sh*t at us in public. It’s deeply disrespectful to assume that we’re either being misinformed or that we’re so retarded we can’t make these decisions ourselves. I thought it was patronizing in the extreme. It’s offensive and I just can’t understand why going to play a rock show or going to lecture at a university [is a problem to them]. ”

OKNOTOK is out June 23 on XL Recordings.

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