Radiohead wins ex-R.E.M. singer’s Michael Stipe’s support for Tel Aviv gig
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Radiohead wins ex-R.E.M. singer’s Michael Stipe’s support for Tel Aviv gig

'Let’s hope a dialogue continues,' says Stipe, standing with British band against pro-Palestinian activists who urge artistic boycott

Pro-Palestinian supporters protest against Radiohead's planned concert in Tel Aviv at the TRNSMT music Festival in Glasgow, Scotland,  July 7, 2017.  (AFP/Digital/Andy Buchanan)
Pro-Palestinian supporters protest against Radiohead's planned concert in Tel Aviv at the TRNSMT music Festival in Glasgow, Scotland, July 7, 2017. (AFP/Digital/Andy Buchanan)

Two days before the band Radiohead is to perform in Tel Aviv, lead vocalist Thom Yorke — under attack from pro-Palestinian artists for agreeing to play in Israel — won support from former R.E.M. front man, singer-songwriter Michael Stipe.

“Let’s hope a dialogue continues, helping to bring the occupation to an end and lead to a peaceful solution,” Stipe posted on Instagram, saying he stood with Radiohead in its decision to appear.

Yorke has been forced to defend his and the band’s decision to play at Yarkon Park in the face of fierce criticism from a series of artists, notably former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters and most recently British filmmaker Ken Loach, all of whom have tried to pressure the British band to cancel its Israel concert and a planned university lecture.

Replying to Loach, Yorke said on Wednesday, “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government. We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America.”

“We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America,” Yorke added. “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.”

Loach himself has been in the news, with a report last week saying he urges others to boycott Israel while his own movies are routinely screened here.

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