Boycotters in new attack on Radiohead over Israel concert

Film director Ken Loach tells band they are standing with 'the oppressor'


Thom Yorke, the Radiohead frontman, has come in for renewed criticism from leading pro-Palestinian campaigners over the band's decision to play a concert in Israel next month.

Film director Ken Loach has issued a statement through the Artist For Palestine UK organisation claiming: “Thom’s is a simple choice: will he stand with the oppressor or the oppressed?”

Mr Loach, who directed promotional videos for Jeremy Corbyn's election campaign and is a long-standing critic of Israel, hit out at Mr Yorke after the singer last week condemned as “patronising and offensive” attempts to stop the band performing in Tel Aviv on July 19.

Artists For Palestine also accused Radiohead of  "going into a live colonial situation” by performing the last date of their A Moon Shaped Pool tour in Israel.

Last week Mr Yorke had dismissed a 1200 strong petition against the band as an attempt to  “throw s**t at [the band] in public ... rather than engage with [us] personally.”

The Radiohead singer had also claimed that the band's guitarist Jonny Greenwood "knows most about these things" having married Israeli Sharona Katan and mixing with both Israeli and Palestinian friends.

But Artists For Palestine responded saying: "Palestinians who read Yorke’s comments will wonder if he knows anything at all about their dispossession and forced exile, and what it’s like to live under military occupation.

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “If Radiohead genuinely believe that the Palestinian people misunderstand the nature of their oppression and the response required, then they should meet with representatives face to face to explain how they have come to this judgment.”

In April, supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, including Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd band member, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, signed a letter calling on Radiohead to cancel their concert, saying it would be “one small step to help pressure Israel to end its violation of basic rights and international law”.

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