Ra­dio­head told not to play in Is­rael, so they did

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - KIM HJELMGAARD

Bri­tish art-rock band Ra­dio­head de­fied protests and calls for a cul­tural boy­cott and played a con­cert in Is­rael on Wed­nes­day night.

It was one of the band’s long­est ever.

The sell­out con­cert at Tel Aviv’s Ha­yarkon Park — the fi­nal show of Ra­dio­head’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” world tour — went ahead de­spite cam­paign­ers and ac­tivists, in­clud­ing many high-pro­file mu­si­cians and lead­ing fig­ures from the art world and be­yond, urg­ing the band to can­cel the show be­cause of what they claim is Is­rael’s op­pres­sive and apartheid-like poli­cies to­ward Pales­tini­ans.

“A lot of stuff has been said about this, but in the end, we played some mu­sic,” Ra­dio­head’s lead singer Thom Yorke said at the end of a con­cert that was their long­est in 11 years, ac­cord­ing to a Red­dit tally. Ra­dio­head played 27 songs.

Prior to the show, Yorke made his views clear as part of a pub­lic dis­agree­ment with the Bri­tish film­maker Ken Loach on Twit­ter.

“Play­ing in a coun­try isn’t the same as en­dors­ing its gov­ern­ment,” Yorke wrote. “We’ve played in Is­rael for over 20 years through a suc­ces­sion of gov­ern­ments, some more lib­eral than oth­ers. As we have in Amer­ica. We don’t en­dorse (Is­rael Pres­i­dent Ben­jamin) Ne­tanyahu any more than (Pres­i­dent) Trump, but we still play in Amer­ica.”

“Mu­sic, art and academia (are) 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.”

But not ev­ery­one agreed with the front­man’s ra­tio­nale and many wanted Ra­dio­head to aban­don the gig and abide by an in­ter­na­tional cul­tural boy­cott of Is­rael or­ga­nized by the Pales­tinian-led Boy­cott, Divest­ment, Sanc­tions (BDS) or­ga­ni­za­tion.

BDS and its sup­port­ers want the boy­cott be­cause of Is­rael’s ac­tions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The ma­jor­ity of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity con­sid­ers this ter­ri­tory to be il­le­gally oc­cu­pied by Is­rael. Is­rael re­futes that claim.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.