Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke has hit out at critics of the band’s decision to perform a concert in Israel on their current tour.

The band is set to play in Tel Aviv next week on the final date of their current world tour supporting last year's album A Moon Shaped Pool, but they have repeatedly come under fire from critics of Israel’s policies towards Palestine, and are being urged to call it off as part of a cultural boycott. They have played there eight times in their career, but not since 2000, well before the 2005 Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement began.

Noted filmmaker Ken Loach wrote a critical article in The Independent on Tuesday this week (July 11th) attacking the group for their decision to play there, but the band’s singer Thom Yorke took to Twitter the following day to clarify their stance and that their gig was not in any way a sign that they endorse Israeli policies.

RadioheadRadiohead performing at Glasgow's TRNSMT festival in July 2017

“Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing its government,” he wrote. “We've played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. We don't endorse [Israeli Prime Minister] 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.”

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In April this year, Radiohead faced a petition from Artists For Palestine, who asked them to think again about playing in a state “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people”. Signatories included South African archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters.

Last weekend, at Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival, they also faced protests from a small section of the crowd who were waving Palestinian flags and banners.

They play at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon next Wednesday (July 19th), supported by the Jewish-Arabic band Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis. At the time of writing, the gig is still going ahead.

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