(photo credit: REUTERS)
A number or artists and activists, including Desmond Tutu, Roger Waters and Thurston Moore, founder of Sonic Youth, have signed an open letter asking British rock superstar band Radiohead “to think again” about performing in Israel, the Pitchfork website reported Monday.
“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 on the website Artists’ Pledge for Palestine states.
“Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over,” the letter concludes.
The appearance of Radiohead on July 19 at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv is one of the expected highlights of a packed summer of shows, including Britney Spears, Aerosmith and Rod Stewart.
According to Hillel Wachs, a promoter with 2B Vibes, the company bringing the Pixies, Paul Young and Macklemore to Israel this summer, when a politically aware and influential act like Radiohead agrees to perform here, it creates a ripple effect.
“It sends a message that BDS is not really a factor, and that it’s acceptable to come to Israel even if you don’t agree with every government policy,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “There’s a general understanding that it’s a complex issue and that music is supposed to supersede political conflict and bridge gaps to bring people together.”
Radiohead’s connection to Israel has been tight since the beginning of their career. They played three shows in Tel Aviv after their debut album was released in 1993, before they had gained wide notoriety. They have gone on to become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed rock groups of the past two decades.
Dudu Tassa and The Kuwaitis, the eclectic Jewish-Arab Israeli band, are scheduled to open up the show in Tel Aviv.