American policy has fairly consistently supported the Jewish nation state of Israel, but many around the world who support Palestine in the ongoing conflict have begun to call out vociferously for a boycott of Israel due to some of their military actions in Palestine. These critics have begun to directly attack and question Radiohead’s decision to play Tel Aviv for an upcoming concert.
The quickly approaching 7/19 concert is one of the last for their tour behind A Moon Shaped Pool, and already invoked criticism from Roger Waters, which Yorke dubbed offensive. “There’s an awful lot of people who don’t agree with the BDS movement, including us,” Yorke told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all, along with J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and a long list of others.”
However, that didn’t stop film director Ken Loach from weighing in on the situation, both in an op-ed for The Independent, and on Twitter, writing “Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor. The choice is simple,” before sharing a link to the piece.
“Radiohead are important to a lot of people around the world, not just because they are accomplished and very distinguished musicians, but also because they are perceived to be a progressive political band,” Loach wrote. “None of us want to see them make the mistake of appearing to endorse or cover up Israeli oppression. If they go to Tel Aviv, they may never live it down.”
Yorke responded directly to Loach on Twitter, pointing out that playing in a country isn’t the same as supporting their government. (Which seems like a pretty basic, logical idea?)
“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing the government,” Yorke wrote. “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 Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. 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. I hope that makes it clear Ken.”
Here’s his full tweet in reply:
— Thom Yorke (@thomyorke) July 11, 2017
Clearly this will continue to be a hot topic for the band. The Tel Aviv show is still scheduled to take place next Wednesday.