Thom Yorke responds to Ken Loach in defence of Radiohead’s Tel Aviv show

“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government”

Thom Yorke has responded to director Ken Loach on his letter urging Radiohead to cancel their Tel Aviv concert on 19 July as part of a cultural boycott against Israel. The letter was published on The Independent and it reads: “Palestinian musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers and cultural organisations have called on us to engage in an institutional cultural boycott of Israel, just as was done during apartheid in South Africa.”

“They have asked us at the very least to refrain from undermining their struggle to end Israel’s military occupation, which turned 50 this month, its colonisation of their land, and its system of apartheid that dominates every aspect of their lives.”

The director ends his letter with: “Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or with the oppressor. The choice is simple.”

Yorke has since responded, saying that playing in Israel isn’t a sign of support for Netanyahu, similar to the way performances in America aren’t an endorsement of Trump. The Radiohead frontman’s reply was posted on Twitter.

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

“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.”

View his full response below.