The war of words over Radiohead’s scheduled gig in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night (July 19) has intensified. Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters has accused the band of “whining” as elsewhere film director Ken Loach has been labeled a “hypocrite” for showing his films in Israel.
Campaigners are calling on the band to cancel the gig as part of an ongoing cultural boycott of the country because of it foreign policy over Palestine.
As previously reported on Gigwise, I, Daniel Blake director Ken Loach said of the band’s decision to play Israel: “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. Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or with the oppressor.”
Yorke responded on Twitter, saying that, “playing in a country isn’t the same as supporting its government.”
Speaking in a Facebook Live conversation with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement [via The Independent], Waters said: "We should observe the picket line. Anybody who's tempted to do that [gig], like our friends in Radiohead... if only they would actually educate themselves.
"I know Thom Yorke's been whining about how he feels insulted, people are suggesting he doesn't know what's going on. Well Thom, you shouldn't feel insulted because if you did know what's been going on, you would have a conversation with [director] Ken Loach, who's been begging you to have a conversation, or with me, I begged you, Thom."
Waters added: ”I look forward to - if you feel like it, when you finish your trip to Israel, because you probably still will go - write me a letter and tell me how much good you did and how much change you managed to affect by chatting with musicians.”
Meanwhile, Ken Loach has been accused of exempting himself from the cultural boycott by having his films shown in Israel.
Guy Shani, who owns Shani Films and Israel’s Lev cinema chain, told The Guardian that he had purchased the rights to show Loach’s films over the last 20 years, despite the director’s support of the cultural boycott of Israel.
He said: “It is a conundrum that has puzzled me too. It seems that Ken Loach feels himself exempt from the cultural boycott.
“Since 1993, when we bought Raining Stones, we bought every film apart from two.
“I can’t tell you how absurd this is. We’ve been showing his movies for years. I have been paying him money every year. His latest film I, Daniel Blake has been really successful in Israel. So successful that we had some private events with Israeli government institutions where they booked the film to show to employees because of interest in the subject.”