Radiohead Singer: Pressure by BDS Supporters to Cancel Israel Concert Is ‘Extremely Upsetting, Disrespectful and Offensive’
The amount of harassment Radiohead has received from BDS supporters about its upcoming concert in Israel is “extremely upsetting,” the rock band’s lead singer said on Friday.
“It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw s**t at us in public,” Thom Yorke told Rolling Stone magazine. “It’s deeply disrespectful to assume that we’re either being misinformed or that we’re so retarded we can’t make these decisions ourselves. I thought it was patronizing in the extreme. It’s offensive and I just can’t understand why going to play a rock show or going to lecture at a university [is a problem to them].”
Radiohead is scheduled to play in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on July 19 as it wraps up its 2017 A Moon Shaped Pool tour. When the band first announced the concert in April, BDS supporters — including Desmond Tutu and Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters — signed an open letter urging the rockers to cancel their show to “help pressure Israel to end its violation of basic rights and international law [against Palestinians].”
The band refused to call off its concert and has continued to face pressure from BDS supporters. At a recent Radiohead show in Berkeley, California, concertgoers held a large banner that criticized the band for choosing to play in the “apartheid” state of Israel, according to Rolling Stone.
“It’s really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years,” Yorke added. “They talk down to us and I just find it mind-boggling that they think they have the right to do that. It’s extraordinary.”
The British rocker added that Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood was married to an Arab Jew and had both Palestinian and Jewish friends, so to think he was ignorant of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was appalling.
Yorke told the magazine: “All these people to stand there at a distance throwing stuff at us, waving flags, saying, ‘You don’t know anything about it!’ Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny. And imagine how upsetting that it’s been to have this out there. Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word ‘apartheid’ around and think that’s enough. It’s f**king weird. It’s such an extraordinary waste of energy. Energy that could be used in a more positive way.”
Radiohead has performed in Israel eight times, most recently in the summer of 2000, but this is the first time it has visited the Jewish state since the launch of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in 2005.