Radiohead defy boycott in Israel; should bands be so political?

In a world where bands take stands on everything from the smallest social justice issues to Donald Trump. More and more people seem to look up to them as role models and expect them to conform to their beliefs and ideals. Radiohead are a band that has been around long enough to go through this time and time again. With a lot of people who spend an awful lot of their time quick to call them out on every little perceived error and inconsistency that might arise.

That’s a little on my feeling of the current ‘outrage’ culture we live in; with the current Radiohead issue, I do see the point of the other side. The controversy arose when an open letter from ‘Artists for Palestine UK’, signed by musicians like Roger Waters, Thurston Moore and Young Fathers, asked the band not to perform in Israel.

They were part of a cultural boycott of Israel due to perceived human rights violations against Palestine, which you would think was an easy cause to rally behind. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is a complex one that I will not pretend to fully understand (but would recommend you researching online), but I do side with Radiohead. And here’s why.

Why So Political?

Thom Yorke and the rest of the band are musicians. Performers. They make and play incredible music, and have gathered a huge following all over the world. They are grown men that can think for themselves, and Thom in particular believes that just boycotting these countries and not talking things through with them isn’t going to help anything. In a rolling stone interview, he expressed how upsetting it was that other artists he respects thought them incapable of making their own moral decisions, opting instead for the ‘you are either with us or against us’ approach.

I’m not saying I agree with what is going on in the Israel/Palestine conflict, I certainly need further education into the subject. But the bullying and overly aggressive nature of people in the online outrage culture needs to stop, and I’m glad a band as big as Radiohead stood up and spoke for themselves.

Radiohead ended up playing the longest set in over a decade, with 28 songs from their vast history of incredible music, including many tracks from their latest new album, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’. 

Matt Lott Music News
Matt Lott Music News
Written by Dana Miller, Head of Music News for GSGM

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