RADIOHEAD frontman Thom Yorke has hit back at filmmaker Ken Loach – after the band were criticised for scheduling a concert in Israel.
Writing in a newspaper article earlier this week, Loach slammed Radiohead for organising a concert in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, and called for them to support the “cultural boycott” of the country.
But Yorke, 48, has fired back, tweeting Loach to say that playing a concert in a country is not the same as supporting that country’s government.
Loach said: “Several artists have approached Radiohead privately over the past few months, including Palestinian and progressive Israeli artists, and have appealed to them for a meeting to explain the need to respect the cultural boycott of Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society.
“I don’t know who is advising Radiohead, 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.
But in a tweet yesterday, Yorke said: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing the government.
“We’ve played in Israel for 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.”
Loach is one of a number of famous names supporting a cultural boycott of Israel over its actions in Palestine.
Some artists, such as Brian Eno and Patrick Driver, have also refused professional invitations to Israel, and refuse to accept funding from institutions linked to its government.
But others, including Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza have said such bans and boycotts won’t heal divisions in the country.
Festival-goers at Glastonbury and TRNSMT have protested Radiohead’s planned gig in Israel, with sections of the audience unveiling Palestinian flags.
After the flags were raised at TRNSMT, held in Glasgow, Yorke said over the microphone: “Some f****** people.”
Radiohead are due to play in Israel next Wednesday.