​Thom Yorke Hits Back over Israel Controversy: "Playing in a Country Isn't the Same as Endorsing Its Government"

Radiohead stand by their decision to play the country this month, despite high-profile protests
​Thom Yorke Hits Back over Israel Controversy: "Playing in a Country Isn't the Same as Endorsing Its Government"
Photo: Rick Clifford
After signing his name to an open letter urging Radiohead to boycott Israel and rethink their scheduled show in Tel Aviv, director Ken Loach has issued a solo plea to the band.
 
In an op-ed for The Independent, Loach has responded to Radiohead frontman's Thom Yorke's claims that the protest letter was an attempt to "throw shit at us in public" rather than addressing the matter in a private conversation with the band members. Loach counters that Yorke's comments are both "inaccurate" and "quite irrelevant," citing a "moral obligation" to support the Palestinian people in what many have deemed "apartheid Israel."
 
Loach goes on to reveal that he has made attempts to contact the band, but his requests have gone unanswered. "I don't know who is advising Radiohead," he writes, "but their stubborn refusal to engage with the many critics of their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side — the one that supports apartheid."
 
Loach continues to say that artists who don't respect the cultural boycott against Israel are guilty of perpetuating the "injustice" against Palestinians. He closes: "Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or with the oppressor. The choice is simple."
 
Yorke has responded to Loach's comments via Twitter, insisting that: "Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing its government," noting that the band's strong aversion to Donald Trump's politics hasn't prevented the band (and many other artists) from playing in America.
 
"Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression," he added.
 
Read his full response below.
 
Radiohead remain scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on July 19.