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Michael Stipe publicly supports Radiohead’s decision to perform Israel concert

on July 16, 2017, 9:34pm

Photos by Heather Kaplan (Thom Yorke) and via Instagram/Tom Gilroy

Radiohead have taken a lot of heat for their upcoming July 19th concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. In particular, frontman Thom Yorke and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters have been engaged in a heated back-and-forth surrounding the event. Waters, who is a vocal proponent of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions ) movement, has repeatedly called on the band to cancel the gig. Yorke responded by criticizing Waters for throwing “shit at us in public,” to which Waters retorted by saying Yorke had been “whining” instead of engaging in conversation. Waters added that Brian Eno had also attempted to reach out to the band, but had been ignored as well.

It seems Yorke isn’t alone in his corner, however, as another artist has come out in support of Radiohead’s choice to go on with the Israel show. R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe posted a message on Instagram Sunday evening stating that he stands with Radiohead in 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.

Yorke’s most recent defense of his band came in response to criticism from director Ken Loach. When Loach said that “Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor,” Yorke responded that “playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government.” He noted that Radiohead aren’t fans of Trump’s politics, but that doesn’t stop them from performing in the US. “Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them,” Yorke added, “about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression.”