Radiohead urged to cancel Israel gig 'for their own self-respect'

Open letter suggests band are displaying double standards by performing in a country 'where a system of apartheid is opposed on the Palestinian people'

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Tuesday 25 April 2017 09:31
Radiohead perform at Coachella festival in April 2017
Radiohead perform at Coachella festival in April 2017

Radiohead are being urged to cancel their upcoming gig in Israel as part of an ongoing cultural boycott.

High profile arts figures from around the world, including Ken Loach, Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky, actors Maxine Peake and Juliet Stephenson, and Roger Waters, have signed an open letter calling on the band to reconsider their performance.

The letter was organised by Artists for Palestine UK and asks Radiohead to avoid performing in a country where "a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people".

It cites the band's support of Tibet's fight for independence as a sign of double standards.

"Since Radiohead campaigns for freedom to the Tibetans, we're wondering why you'd turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation," the letter reads.

"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."

It adds: "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."

Loach wrote in a separate comment that Radiohead should cancel the gig "for their own self-respect".

The Guardian notes that Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood is married to Israeli artist Sharona Katan, and recently released an album with the Israeli singer Shye Ben Tzur.

A spokesperon for Radiohead has said the band has no comment.

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