Radiohead drummer says playing Israel concert ‘felt like the right decision’

Band played a controversial gig in Tel Aviv in July

Radiohead drummer Philip Selway has defended the band’s decision to play a gig in Israel despite calls for them to cancel the show.

The band played their longest show in a decade at the Tel Aviv gig last month (July 19). Prior to the concert, they had received criticism for refusing to join a cultural boycott of Israel over their human rights violations.

Radiohead faced numerous requests to cancel the gig, with an open letter recently issued by Artists For Palestine UK – and signed by musicians including Roger Waters, Thurston Moore and Young Fathers – asking the group to “think again” about their decision to perform.


Singer Thom Yorke also engaged in a Twitter altercation with director Ken Loach over the Israel gig, with the latter asking the band whether they would “stand with the oppressed or the oppressor?”

Speaking to NME last week, Selway explained the extra long length of the show, saying: “I think it was because it was our last show for a while, really. It felt almost like end of tour party. Looking at the set list and thinking ‘Oh I want to play that one again, and that one again, and that one again!’ And so, it grew from there really.”

Asked whether he felt like the band had burned bridges by playing the show, Selway replied: “I honestly don’t know. That wouldn’t have been the basis to make our decision to play there. You know, I think we stand by what we have said and that feels like the right decision.”

Elsewhere in the NME interview, Selway responded to Ed Balls’ recent criticism of the band’s Glastonbury set. Balls has since said that he’s willing to give Radiohead another chance.


Selway recently announced a new solo album/film soundtrack.

‘Let Me Go’ will be released on October 27 via Bella Union. It will serve as the soundtrack to the film of the same name, which is based on Austrian-born Helga Schneider’s memoir. In it, she tracks down her mother Traudi, only to discover she was a guard in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

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