Radiohead’s Controversial Israel Show Divides Rock Community

“I stand with Radiohead and their decision to perform," said Michael Stipe.

By Hayden Wright

Radiohead’s decision to play a concert in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night (July 19) has divided the rock community: While some artists have spoken out against the band’s tacit endorsement of Israel, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe has spoken out on Radiohead’s behalf.

Related: Radiohead Urged to Cancel Tel Aviv Concert by Musicians, Activists

“I stand with Radiohead and their decision to perform. Let’s hope a dialogue continues, helping to bring the occupation to an end and lead to a peaceful solution,” he wrote in an Instagram post.

Critics of the concert cite Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and “occupation” of lands they also claim, with no resolution in sight. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has been a vocal proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement—and says he’s reached out to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke to resolve the situation.

“Well Thom, you shouldn’t feel insulted because if you did know what’s going on, you would have a conversation with Ken Loach, who’s been begging you to have a conversation, or with me, I begged you, Thom,” he said during a BDS Facebook live stream.

“I sent you a number of emails, begging you to have a conversation,” he added. “As did Brian Eno. You ignored us all. You won’t speak to anyone about anything. So it’s that kind of isolationism that is extremely unhelpful to everybody.”

See Stipe’s Instagram post here:

Watch Waters’ remarks here:

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