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Radiohead Defends Israel Concert in Twitter Feud With Filmmaker Ken Loach

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Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. Photo: Yasuko Otani via Wikimedia Commons. – Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke defended his band’s decision to perform in Israel during a dispute on Twitter with British filmmaker Ken Loach.

“Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor,” Loach tweeted on Tuesday. “The choice is simple.”

“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government,” Yorke replied. “We don’t endorse [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu any more than [President Donald] Trump, but we still play in America.”

Yorke added, “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. I hope that makes it clear Ken.”

Loach’s criticism of Radiohead’s upcoming Israel concert follows April’s BDS petition against the performance, issued by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“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’…Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over,” Waters and Tutu wrote in a letter issued on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Last week, Yorke clashed with anti-Israel protesters during a Radiohead concert in Glasgow, Scotland.

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