Thurston Moore, Roger Waters, and More Sign Letter Asking Radiohead to Cancel a Concert in Israel Citing ‘Apartheid’

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Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

In advance of a July 19 engagement to play at Park HaYarkon in Tel Aviv, Israel, dozens of musicians, writers, and other entertainment-industry professionals have signed a letter asking Radiohead to stay out of the country. Julie Christie, Eve Ensler, Thurston Moore, Roger Waters, and even the Archbishop Desmond Tutu all attached their names to a statement that reads in part: “Surely if making a stand against the politics of division, of discrimination and of hate means anything at all, it means standing against it everywhere — and that has to include what happens to Palestinians every day.”

The new open letter likened the current boycott efforts in Israel to artists in the 1980s refusing to play in South Africa until the country ended state-sanctioned apartheid. “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.’” Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore even added his own statement to the end of the plea, telling the band that refusing to play its July engagement would be “a small sacrifice in respect to those who struggle in honourable opposition to state-sponsored fascism.”

Moore and Waters inclusion in the open letter is no surprise, as both artists have a history of supporting Palestine. The former Sonic Youth singer previously joined the Artists for Palestine Pledge, which has more than 1,200 signatories who have agreed to accept neither funding nor “professional invitations” from any entity connected to the Israeli government. Waters, meanwhile, has been a vocal critic of Israel for years, and once wrote a letter to Bon Jovi saying that their insistence on playing in the country put them “shoulder to shoulder with the settler who burned the baby, with the bulldozer driver who crushed Rachel Corrie,” going on to list a handful of other very upsetting incidents.

Dozens of Artists Ask Radiohead to Cancel Concert in Israel