Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke condemned the attempts to get his band to cancel its upcoming Tel Aviv performance. “I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all,” he said after dozens of artists signed an open letter encouraging him and his band members to refuse to play in Israel.


Radiohead Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Next month, Radiohead will perform in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park. In an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine, the band’s frontman Thom Yorke spoke for the first time about the BDS efforts to get Radiohead to cancel its Tel Aviv concert. “It’s really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years,” he said.

“I’ll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting,” Yorke continued. “There’s an awful lot of people who don’t agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all, along with J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and a long list of others. There are people I admire [who have been spoken out against the concert] like Ken Loach, who I would never dream of telling where to work or what to do or think.”

“The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white,” he added. “I have a problem with that. It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public. It’s deeply disrespectful to assume that we’re either being misinformed or that we’re so retarded we can’t make these decisions ourselves.”

In April, dozens of artists, including former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, signed an open letter calling on Radiohead to cancel its Tel Aviv concert. “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,’” the letter posted on the website Artists’ Pledge for Palestine reads.