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Ken Loach renews Radiohead boycott call – while his own film is screened in Israel

The award-winning director’s latest movie, I, Daniel Blake, is currently being shown at a number of cinemas in Tel Aviv.

    Ken Loach (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Georges Biard)

    Ken Loach is leading calls for Radiohead to cancel their concert in Israel - while his latest film is being screened in Israeli cinemas.

    The award-winning director’s latest movie, I, Daniel Blake, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, is currently being shown at a number of cinemas in Tel Aviv.

    Mr Loach is a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. He has been at the forefront of attempts to pressurise the British rock band to cancel their performance in Tel Aviv next week.

    “I don’t know who is advising Radiohead”, he wrote, in a piece for Independent yesterday.

    “But their stubborn refusal to engage with the many critics of their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side – the one that supports apartheid.

    “Radiohead should heed their friends who tell them that by performing in Tel Aviv they will undermine not only the struggle for human rights but also Radiohead’s own reputation”.

    During a performance in Glasgow on Friday, the band was faced with Palestinian flags and boycott placards among the audience. Thom Yorke, Radiohead's lead singer, reportedly muttered “some f**king people” four times into the microphone, before he made a hand gesture signalling his contempt for the boycotters.

    Mr Loach tweeted this Independent piece to Mr Yorke,  saying they “need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor. The choice is simple”.

    In response, Mr Yorke tweeted: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government.

    “We’ve played in Israel over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America.

    “We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America.

    “Music, art and academia is 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”.

    Mr Loach’s office has been contacted for comment.

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