Michael Stipe Publicly Supports Radiohead’s Decision To Perform In Israel

Radiohead’s plans to perform this week in Tel Aviv, Israel has garnered the band quite a bit of criticism over the last several weeks. The most vocal detractor has been Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters, who as early as yesterday accused Thom Yorke of “whining” about the whole thing. Of course, Radiohead hasn’t been without its defenders as well, and recently one of them took to social media to speak out for the group.

Michael Stipe, the one-time lead singer of one of R.E.M., and a noted activist, shared a post to Instagram where he declared, “I stand with Radiohead and their decision to perform.” Adding, “Let’s hope a dialogue continues, helping to bring the occupation to an end and lead to a peaceful solution.”

Last month, Yorke sat down for an interview with Rolling Stone where he opened up about the whole situation:

“There are people I admire [who have been critical of the concert] like [English film director] Ken Loach, who I would never dream of telling where to work or what to do or think. The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white. I have a problem with that. It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit 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].”

Responding to Stipe’s message, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, today told Artists for Palestine UK, “The continued dialogue Michael Stipe hopes for has literally been going on for decades, and it has done nothing to bring us any closer to securing our freedom, justice or equal human rights.” Adding, “For dialogue to be ethical and effective, it must recognize that all humans deserve equal rights and that all injustice must end in accordance with international law.”

Meanwhile, Ken Loach also wrote an op-ed on the situation, which Radiohead further responded to by comparing it to playing America under Trump. The show is scheduled to take place this Wednesday.