Radiohead are wrong to play in Israel. Here’s why | Dave Randall

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This Tel Aviv gig will help the Israeli government’s ‘business as usual’ propaganda effort and alienate thousands of fans worldwide by ignoring the pleas of Palestinians

• Dave Randall is a former guitarist for the band Faithless

Next Wednesday (19 July), Radiohead will step on stage in Tel Aviv in knowing and deliberate contravention of the boycott of Israel called for by Palestinian civil society and adhered to by leading cultural figures. In so doing, they will lose the respect of thousands of music fans across the region and around the world. Lead singer Thom Yorke’s arrogant response to protests against the decision revealed just how out of touch he is on this issue. In an interview in Rolling Stone magazine, he claimed the protests were “an extraordinary waste of energy”, adding that the situation was particularly upsetting for guitarist Jonny Greenwood, who has “fans on both sides” and an Israeli wife: “All these people stand there at a distance throwing stuff at us, waving flags, saying, ‘You don’t know anything about it!’ Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny.” An acknowledgement that offence might be caused to Palestinians – whose calls Radiohead have decided to ignore – was conspicuously absent from Yorke’s rant.

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