Roger Waters to Thom Yorke: Stop “whining” about criticism over Israel concert

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In the lead up to Radiohead’s July 19th concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thom Yorke has been engaged in a war of worlds with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. Waters supports a cultural boycott of Israel until Palestinians are granted greater equality under Israeli law and has called on Radiohead to cancel the gig as a result. In response, Yorke criticized Waters for throwing “shit at us in public” rather than engaging with the band behind the scenes. Yorke also noted “how offensive” the boycott is to Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, who is married to an Arab Jew.

Now, as Rolling Stone points out, Waters has responded to Yorke in a Facebook Live discussion about the proposed boycott.

“My answer to people who say we should go there and sit around the campfire and sing songs: No, we shouldn’t. We should observe the picket line,” Waters said. “Anybody who’s tempted to do that, like our friends in Radiohead, if only they would actually educate themselves. I know Thom Yorke’s been whining about how he feels insulted, people are suggesting he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

“Well Thom, you shouldn’t feel insulted because if you did know what’s going on, you would have a conversation with [director] Ken Loach, who’s been begging you to have a conversation, or with me, I begged you, Thom. I sent you a number of emails, begging you to have a conversation. 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.”

“I look forward to – if you feel like it, when you finish your trip to Israel, because you probably still will go – write me a letter and tell me how much good you did and how much change you managed to affect by chatting with musicians,” Waters concluded.

Last week, Yorke further defended Radiohead’s Israel performance. Responding to criticism from director Ken Loach, Yorke wrote on Twitter, “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government.” As an example, he pointed out that Radiohead still play shows in America despite their disapproval of Trump’s politics. He 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.”

Watch video of Waters’ comments below.

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