Roger Waters hits back at Thom Yorke over Radiohead Israel show controversy

Radiohead are due to play a show at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon on July 19 despite boycott calls

Former Pink Floyd man Roger Waters has hit back at Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke following recent comments he made about calls for his band to cancel their upcoming show in Israel.

Radiohead are due to play a show at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon on July 19. Following the announcement of the gig, an open letter issued by Artists for Palestine UK – and signed by musicians including Waters, Thurston Moore and Young Fathers – asked the group to “think again” about their decision.

Speaking recently to Rolling Stone, Yorke described the situation as “extremely upsetting”, “offensive” and “an extraordinary waste of energy”, adding of Waters and his fellow critics: “It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public.”


Now Waters has provided his own response to Rolling Stone, claiming that – contrary to Yorke’s previous comments – he has attempted to reach him personally about the matter and that the singer “had misinterpreted my attempt to start a conversation as a threat.”

Arguing that Yorke’s interview “needs a reply as it doesn’t tell the whole story”, Waters directed his response to the Radiohead frontman: “I have made every effort to engage with you personally, and would still like to have the conversation.”

Waters added: “Today is the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine by Israel. Fifty years living under military occupation. Fifty years for a people with no civil rights. Fifty years of no recourse to the law. Fifty years of apartheid.”

He continued: “The BDS picket line exists to shine a light on the predicament of the occupied people of Palestine, both in Palestine and those displaced abroad, and to promote equal civil rights for all the people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea no matter what their nationality, race or religion. All human life is sacred, every child is our child, exceptionalism is always our enemy. There is no Us or Them, only Us.”

Read Waters’ full response here.


In his original reply, Yorke directly criticised Waters, who recently worked with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich on his new solo album. “Imagine how this has affected me and Nigel’s relationship,” Yorke said. “Thanks, Roger. I mean, we’re best mates for life, but it’s like, fuck me, really?”

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