Protest over Radioheads Israel gig begins

April 24, 2017

Back in February, we found out that Radiohead had booked an interesting stop on their summer tour – Tel Aviv, Israel. The band scheduled a performance at Park Hayarkon on July 19th this year.

But today some pressure was thrown back at Radiohead courtesy of an open letter signed by no less than 47 artists, activists and cultural figures, imploring the band to “think again” about their decision.

radiohead

The open letter was signed by the likes of Roger Waters, Desmond Tutu, Young Fathers, and a litany of other artists who support the boycott of Israel.

The opening of the letter reads; “We’d like to ask you to think again – because by playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, UN rapporteurs say, ‘a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people’.   ”

The open letter goes on to cite reasons why Radiohead specifically should reconsider, among them Radioheads support of the freedom of Tibet – ” we’re wondering why you’d turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation.”

The defiance by Moore especially is no surprise – Moore has been intensely critical of the Israeli conflict with Palestine for years. His signature also appears on the Artists Pledge For Palestine, a pledge that, among other things, promotes the “Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

The issue is certainly contentions, but there’s no clear consensus either. Artists such as Soundgarden, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Leonard Cohen, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, and dozens more have played Tel Aviv in recent years. Examples of artists who have declined to play Israel include Waters, The Pixies, Brian Eno, Santana, Bjork, and Elvis Costello.

Jonny Greenwood, Radiohead’s guitarist, is married Sharona Katan, an Israeli artist. Greenwood also recently released an album with Israeli singer Shye Ben Tzur. The band has also announced that Israel’s own Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis will open for them on July 19ths show.

Radiohead has not responded to the letter as of yet.

 

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