Radiohead are due to play a show in Tel Aviv, Israel’s Park Hayarkon on July 19, despite a widespread music industry boycott of the country. Now an open letter – signed by musicians including Thurston Moore and Young Fathers – has been issued asking the band to “think again” about their decision.
Issued by Artists for Palestine UK, a network of artists and activists standing for Palestinian cultural expression, ‘An Open Letter to Radiohead’ has also picked up signatures from actor Ricky Tomlinson, retired bishop Desmond Tutu and director Ken Loach.
The letter tells Radiohead, that “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’.” It further claims that Radiohead have previously turned down a cultural boycott of Israel, adding: “Since Radiohead campaigns for freedom for the Tibetans, we’re wondering why you’d turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation.”
It concludes by saying: “Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over.”
In a separate signatory statement, Thurston Moore says: “If any concerned, humanitarian-conscious activists employ a boycott to protest brutal injustice in their country and request artists and scholars to refrain from working and/or being promoted as supportive of the normalization of that country – then I choose NOT to cross that line and suggest to all to not be complicit. It is a small sacrifice in respect to those who struggle in honourable opposition to state-sponsored fascism.”
Ken Loach meanwhile reaches out to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, saying: “I’m afraid your pious words will mean nothing if you turn your backs on the Palestinians.”
See the open letter in full here.
This summer sees Radiohead headlining Glastonbury 2017, as well as playing a run of other huge European festival dates for 2017. Meanwhile, Jonny Greenwood is set to head out on a solo tour, while rhythm guitarist Ed O’Brien will release his debut solo album in 2017.