Mike Leigh slams Radiohead for ignoring Palestinians

Artists for Palestine UK statement
London, July 17

Film writer and director Mike Leigh has criticised Thom Yorke and Radiohead for ignoring Palestinian suffering, two days ahead of their controversial Israel gig.

Last week Radiohead front-man Yorke defended the band’s decision to play in Israel and ignore the Palestinian picket-line, arguing that music was about ‘crossing borders’ and ‘shared humanity’.

Today, Oscar nominated Leigh, who is in production for his forthcoming feature film ‘Peterloo’, issued the following statement via Artists for Palestine UK –

‘On Wednesday Radiohead will perform in a Tel Aviv stadium built over the ruins of the Palestinian village of Jarisha. It is a sad fact that Radiohead have failed to engage with Palestinians who have called for them not to play, and that Thom Yorke’s comments are devoid of any reference to Palestinians at all.

As the lights go out in Gaza and Palestinian cancer patients die because they are denied travel permits by Israel, while a Palestinian poet in Israel lives under house arrest for a poem she wrote on Facebook, while a young circus performer from the West Bank languishes in administrative detention without charge or trial – Thom Yorke speaks loftily about ‘crossing borders’ and ‘freedom of expression’. One has to ask, freedom for whom exactly?’


For more on the instances to which Leigh refers see –

Beloved Abeer passes away after being denied travel for treatment outside Gaza https://www.map.org.uk/news/archive/post/697-

Mohammad Abu Sakha: in prison for making children happy

Political poetry as a crime: Inside the surreal trial of Dareen Tatour https://972mag.com/political-poetry-as-a-crime-inside-the-surreal-trial-of-dareen-tatour/126155/



5 thoughts on “Mike Leigh slams Radiohead for ignoring Palestinians

  1. Zoe says:

    Dear Mr.Thom Yorke & Radiohead:

    Re. “crossing borders”

    It’s lovely you can cross borders.

    Tell that to Palestinian Bedouin kept from crossing borders.
    Tell that to all the Palestinians who are not allowed Right of Return.
    Tell that to Palestinians who still have their keys to their houses in which strangers now live.
    Tell that to Palestinians walled off from their own fields.
    Tell that to Palestinians walled off from their own orchards.
    Tell that to Palestinians walled off from their own vinyards.
    Tell that to Palestinian men forced to wait in cages built to hold humans before being allowed a single day’s work.
    Tell that to the loved ones of those Palestinians who were shot/murdered at checkpoints.
    Tell that to Palestinians forced to look at the walls of their brutal open air prison the Apartheid Wall.
    Tell that to Palestinians not allowed on the hideous highways that have scarred their beautiful landscape.
    Tell that to the loved ones of Palestinian shepards shot/murdered in their fields.
    Tell that to the loved ones of Palestinian farmers shot/murdered in their fields.
    Tell that to the loved ones of Palestinian children shot murdered in their fields.
    Tell that to pregnant Palestinian women stopped at checkpoint kept from getting to hospital… lost their baby.
    Tell that to Palestinian families that remain separated.
    Tell that to Palestinian children shot from gun towers crossing…

    Re. “shared humanity”

    Go & live in the oldest refugee camps in the world there since 1948. Nobody is stopping you… You can cross the borders… and share humanity…

    Go & sleep in the empty beds of those Palestinians murdered by settlers & police & the military… You can cross the borders… Nobody is stopping you… to share humanity…

    Go & visit the graves of Palestinians killed for no reason but they existed… & their shared humanity


  2. Dan says:

    LIES! the lights are going out in Gaza because the Palestinian Authority is trying to squeeze hamas by not paying the electric bill! Additionally, plenty of high ranking hamas and PA officials have gotten their medical care in Israeli hospitals, but again, due to INTERNAL palestinian politics, this is being stopped.

    this very much reminds me of the ‘conspiracy’ that israel was robbing the palestinians of cement for building new homes — when it finally came out that all the cement was going to building tunnels underground to store missiles!!!!

    Since the palestinians are determined to destroy israel, and have said so many times, Israel keeps their boot on the palestinians to prevent them from doing so. Yet, in no other conflict is there such a gentle boot on the weaker side. The palestinians know they are darn lucky they are not sunni syrians, or chechens, or tibetans etc…


    • LP says:

      Oh dear GOD. I feel so sorry for you, Dan. For your judgement having become so clouded and completely and utterly inhumane.


  3. Elizabeth Morley says:

    Palestinians destroy Israel? Pardon? How? Israel has one of the most advanced military systems in the world, its arsenal boasts every kind of WMD under the sun (mostly tested on the Palestinians!) including nuclear weapons! How on earth can stone-throwing children, knife-wielding, car-ramming desperate people, home-made missiles and a few “real” ones “destroy” Israel? Get real!


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