Sunday 23 July 2017

Radiohead urged to cancel Israel gig by stars including Roger Waters and Ken Loach

Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs live on stage, at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, Camden in London
Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs live on stage, at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, Camden in London

By Joe Nerssessian

Loach said the Creep hit makers should cancel the performance for their own “self-respect”

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and film director Ken Loach have backed a call from stars across TV and music urging Radiohead to cancel a gig in Israel.

An open letter signed by a number of artists and actors, as well as by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, calls for the rock group to “think again” about performing in a country “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people”.

The letter from Artists For Palestine UK claims the band had turned down requests of Palestinian campaigners who had previously asked them to cancel the show in Tel Aviv on July 19 as part of a cultural boycott.

Citing Radiohead’s support for freedom of the Tibetans as well as their performance at the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, it adds: “We’re wondering why you’d turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation.”

Also among the 47 signatories are Wolf Hall writer Peter Kosminsky, Scottish Mercury Prize-winners Young Fathers and actors Ricky Tomlinson, Miriam Margolyes, Maxine Peake, and Juliet Stevenson.

In a further note, Kosminksy said he is “puzzled and really saddened” that the band plan to play in Israel, and urged them to cancel their performance.

He wrote: “Some years ago, I had the great honour and privilege to work with the scarily talented Thom Yorke and Radiohead when they allowed me to use their music for a film I was making about bullying.

“With Trump in the White House, the situation for Palestinians has become tougher than ever. They’ve asked for a cultural boycott of Israel, just as campaigners for freedom asked artists not to perform in Sun City during the apartheid era. I think we should assume they know what’s in their best interests and respect their wish, irrespective of other considerations.”

I, Daniel Blake director Loach said the Creep hit makers should cancel the performance for the sake of Palestinians and their “own self-respect”.

A representative for Radiohead has been contacted for comment.

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