Following personal approaches to Radiohead by Palestinians, by fans and by fellow artists, on April 24, Artists for Palestine UK posted an open letter signed by 47 prominent artists appealing to the band to withdraw from their scheduled Tel Aviv gig in July. The letter drew widespread media attention including from Pitchfork, NME, The Telegraph and The Guardian, but the band chose not to comment on the question of standing up for Palestinian rights. Now, in an extraordinary outburst in the pages of Rolling Stone, Thom Yorke lambasts the artists who signed the letter.
London, April 24th 2017
Dear Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway,
You’re listed to play Tel Aviv in July this year.
We’d like to ask you to think again – because 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’.
We understand you’ve been approached already by Palestinian campaigners. They’ve asked you to respect their call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and you’ve turned them down. Since Radiohead campaigns for freedom for the Tibetans, we’re wondering why you’d turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation. And since Radiohead fronted a gig for the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we’re wondering why you’d ignore a call to stand against the denial of those rights when it comes to the Palestinians.
MEDIA: Eddie Izzard Misses Palestinian Marathon Following Backlash Over Tel Aviv Gig, Hollywood Reporter 31/3/2017
RELATED: ‘Israel bans Gaza runners from Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem’ Middle East Monitor March 30, 2017
Palestinians run for right to free movement in Bethlehem marathon 31.03.2017
‘In a development saturated with political and emotional charge, South African runner Mervin Steenkamp came in first, for the second year in a row. Second-placed Thaer Shanaah is from Gaza, the densely populated coastal strip under blockade by Israel’.
UK comedian Eddie Izzard is known for his opposition to apartheid South Africa. He played gigs for the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the 1980s. In 2016, as part of a charity fund-raising effort, he ran 27 marathons in 27 days to honour the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison . And yet, despite pleas from fellow artists in the UK and Palestine, he is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on March 30, in breach of the Palestinian boycott which challenges Israel’s continuing Apartheid regime.
Banksy, artist turned hotelier, has responded to an appeal from Palestinians, and withdrawn an invitation to English DJ Fatboy Slim to perform at a street party outside the new Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem.
Fatboy Slim scheduled a Bethlehem appearance the day after his planned March 12 performance in Tel Aviv. Artists for Palestine UK (APUK), have appealed to the DJ to cancel his Israeli show.
UPDATE 09.03.2017 From Israeli Citizens: Radiohead, Please Don’t Play Tel-Aviv
Open letter from Israeli citizens to Radiohead : “We urge you to cancel your performances in Israel and not grant your seal of approval to Israel’s ongoing crimes and human rights violations.” 09.03.2017
London, 7 March 2017
Calls mount for Radiohead to cancel Israel gig
- Artists for Palestine UK joins growing appeal to Radiohead to cancel Israel gig
- Palestinian artists say, ‘Stand with the oppressed, as Brian Eno, Alice Walker and Roger Waters do’
- Jewish Voice for Peace in South Florida, USA, says, ‘We urge you to cancel, as an inspiration to young people everywhere’
Artists for Palestine UK (APUK), whose Artists’ Pledge for Palestine has over 1200 signatories, called today for UK band Radiohead to cancel their concert in Tel Aviv, scheduled for July 19.
On Monday The Guardian put out a press association report on high-profile sculptor Anish Kapoor’s acceptance of Israel’s $1 million Genesis prize. The prize is awarded by the Genesis Prize Foundation, the office of the Israeli prime minister and the Jewish Agency for Israel and “recognises individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their fields and whose actions and achievements express a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and the State of Israel”.
Artists have written to DJ Fatboy Slim asking him to cancel his forthcoming show in Tel Aviv. Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim, said recently in an interview that his criteria for accepting a gig means it has to ‘fulfil the 5 f’s’ – a first, a favour for a friend, fun, finance, food. Playing the settler-colonial state may be ‘a first’ for Fatboy, but it’s only going to be ‘fun’ if he ignores the experience of Palestinians including those within Israel’s borders. We hope he thinks again.
- Haaretz: ‘Former Pink Floyd bassist signs an open letter telling the electronic duo to not be fooled by Tel Aviv’s cool vibe while a different petition accuses artists who perform in Israel of whitewashing apartheid.’ (November 5, 2016)
Report in the Guardian: ‘Former Pink Floyd man joins campaign alongside Caryl Churchill and Maxine Peake seeking a cultural boycott to promote better treatment of Palestinians’ (November 2, 2016)
- Report in Pitchfork: ‘Roger Waters, Thousands More Petition the Chemical Brothers to Cancel Tel Aviv Show’; and here in NME magazine and MixMag (November 1, 2016)
- In an interview with Israeli media Chemical Brothers deny they are asked to boycott Israel despite over 7,000 people asking them to do just that. They are quoted as saying ‘pressure was not applied to us. We will go to any place where young people want to see us playing. We are not really involved in all the rest’. Needless to say, if the controversial concert goes ahead, fans in the occupied Palestinian territories will not be able to reach it due to ‘all the rest’. (October 29, 2016).
- More than 7,000 people sign a petition asking Chemical Brothers Ed and Tom not to play Tel Aviv! (October 28, 2016)
Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, due to perform in the Israeli-occupied Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday 20 September, is a Global Ambassador for Oxfam.
Artists for Palestine UK has engaged in discussion with Oxfam in the hope the organisation would dissuade him from going ahead with the performance.
We have argued that an NGO which recruits artists to promote its values needs to make sure the artists’ actions are consistent with those values. Baaba Maal appearing in occupied East Jerusalem is not, we’ve argued, consistent with Oxfam’s stated opposition to Israeli colonisation policy.
We are making public an edited version of our most recent letter to our Oxfam interlocutors.