Radiohead’s Singer Addresses Israel Concert Controversy

Band set to play final show of current tour in Tel Aviv, amid criticism from BDS rockers.

June 2, 2017 1:05 pm
Radiohead's Thom Yorke Addresses Israel Concert Controversy
Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs on the Coachella Stage during day 1 of the 2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Weekend 2) at the Empire Polo Club on April 21, 2017 in Indio, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

On July 19, Radiohead are set to wrap up their current headlining tour for latest album A Moon Shaped Pool in Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv, Israel.

But some of their peers in the music community aren’t exactly in a congratulatory mood.

Back on April 23, 50 pro-Palestinian advocates—including former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore—signed a petition to try to compel the band to cancel the show.

A number of critics of Israel—including Radiohead’s longtime producer Nigel Godrich—have joined a movement called BDS, which stands for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” of the country over what they perceive as the oppression of the Palestinian people. The petition stated: “We’d like to ask [Radiohead] to think again [about playing the concert] – 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.’”

Up until now, the band had remained silent on the issue. But frontman Thom Yorke broke his silence in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.

“I’ll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting,” he told the publication. “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 went on to say: “All of this creates divisive energy. You’re not bringing people together. You’re not encouraging dialogue or a sense of understanding.

“Now if you’re talking about trying to make things progress in any society, if you create division, what do you get? You get f—ing Theresa May. You get [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, you get f—ing Trump. That’s divisive.”

To get in a less divisive frame of mind, listen to Radiohead’s single “Daydreaming” from A Moon Shaped Pool below.

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