Published Apr 24, 2017A number of high-profile artists have signed an open letter to Radiohead, urging the band to rethink their upcoming concert in Tel Aviv. The group are scheduled to perform in the Israeli city on July 19, but activists are calling on Thom Yorke and co. to reconsider.
Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Young Fathers are amongst the musicians who have lent their signatures to the open letter. They claim 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.'"
The letter goes on to cite Radiohead's previous support for Tibetan freedom and headlining a 50th anniversary concert for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, painting the band's decision to play in Israel as a contrast to their former political and humanitarian causes — and as a direct denial of the rights of Palestinian people.
It goes on:
In asking you not to perform in Israel, Palestinians have appealed to you to take one small step to help pressure Israel to end its violation of basic rights and international law. Surely if making a stand against the politics of division, of discrimination and of hate means anything at all, it means standing against it everywhere — and that has to include what happens to Palestinians every day.
The letter likens the current Israeli-Palestinian situation to that of apartheid in South Africa and concludes with a request that Radiohead mimic the actions of artists during that period: "Please do what artists did in South Africa's era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over."
An additional statement from Moore reads:
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.
Read the letter in its entirety and see the full list of signatories here.