Friday, 21 April 2017

Letter from Susannah Nachenberg

This letter comes from Susannah Nachenberg, Radiohead fan and member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

I was at the Radiohead show at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley [April 18] - I’m a huge fan. And I unfurled this banner not to shame them, but to show frontman Thom Yorke and the band that they will be losing a huge fan if they go through with their planned concert in Tel Aviv.

The band knows what social justice means - they’ve stood up for Tibet, and against the War on Terror. York even tweeted about not normalizing Trump. And as artists with a conscience, Radiohead should stand in solidarity with Palestine.

Because in a world where Palestinians have freedom of movement and other basic human rights, there'd be no need for an international call for cultural boycott.
Radiohead has not played Israel since 2000. That was before the apartheid wall. 200,000 more illegal settlers have moved into the West Bank and East Jerusalem since then, and there have been three massive attacks on Gaza. 

And more to the point, hundreds of Palestinian civil society organizations have come together to call for an international cultural boycott of Israel until it abides by international law. And Radiohead shouldn’t cross that picket line.

They’d be far from alone. Ms. Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Elvis Costello, Bjork and many others have heeded Palestinian civil society’s call. These artists see apartheid Israel for what it is. And most importantly, they’ve embraced their role in making change.

Palestinians don't have a choice to reject or accept apartheid in Israel. It is a daily, grinding experience. Radiohead has a choice to do the right thing. I still hold out hope that they will.


Susannah Nachenberg
JVP Bay Area

PS: Radiohead only has a few more dates left on their summer tour - you can check the schedule here to see if one is near you. It’s rare that we have such a direct way for people outside the US to do on the ground work with us - but if you’re going to a show or would be willing to flyer outside, email and we’ll help you set it up!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Letter from Alison

Dear Colin, Ed, Jonny, Phil and Thom, I am a long time Radiohead fan who can’t believe that you are playing in Tel Aviv this summer. Have you taken leave of your senses? Seriously? I guess you will be playing for Putin next, and then maybe Trump, a special at Mar-a-Lago one weekend, perhaps? I live in London and was planning to come and see you in Milan and Florence in June but I can’t, I just can’t come, when people from Gaza and the West Bank are not able to travel freely within Israel to come and see you play, and experience the wonder of the live Radiohead. It's bad enough that the Israeli government enforces apartheid, but do you have to do so as well? I was listening to Harry Patch (In Memory Of) last week, and as I was doing so, I thought, where is this Radiohead – this politically aware, emotionally attuned, sensitive band that could create and release this – in 2009 and again in 2016? How can you respond to that situation of WW1, and Harry Patch’s experience as the last surviving soldier, with such tenderness and yet also do this in 2017? Why are you willing to break the cultural boycott and play to a segregated audience in Israel? Palestinian civil society called the boycott to combat the state of apartheid that is imposed on them by Israeli authorities. Palestinians routinely have their homes destroyed and their land taken away. It's been that way since 1948. That deserves a song about it too. And to learn that the venue you will perform in, Hayarkon Park, is on the site of a Palestinian village called Jarisha which was wiped off the map in 1948, is just too much for me. You guys have lost it, you really have. Too many New York fashion shows and DJ sets? Too much dope? Wake up wake up wake up and do something that can make a difference. Hold a concert for Palestine. Draw attention to the issues. Write a song. Do a dance. It's not too late. Love Alison 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Letter from Laurence

Dear Radiohead,
To say you have broken my heart is an understatement. You were my first love, long before women ruined my teenage years I grew with you, your music was beautiful, inclusive and always held a special meaning, far from the pseudo hippie bullshit that exists/existed your music had meaning, inspired people and gave great harmony to all of us who enjoyed it. I would love to say I will never listen to another Radiohead song again but I can't deprive myself of that beauty, it's certain to say I will never pay for another Radiohead item ever again in my life. What you are doing to me and to millions of other friends who developed with you, stuck with you and even promoted you because we thought we were promoting something great (as music we were, as people I think we were all mistaken) is similar to having the most amazing girlfriend, beautiful in every way and after almost thirty years together she joins the Nazi party and tells you she's going to fuck an Adolf Hitler lookalike on July 19th 2017 and you just have to sit back and wait to watch her do it. Sure I understand your Israel connection and how this is difficult for you but I hope with all my heart that a small piece of Radiohead's moral compass still exists and you realize you can not be complicit in this outrage, this will be a very dark stain on your legacy, imagine Pink Floyd playing a concert in Nazi Germany with the backdrop being the slaughter of millions of Jews, this is no different, your backdrop will be the massacre of every single man women and child that Israel has and will slaughter, you will represent the shocking injustice of this world, you will be playing to crowds of people who openly endorse and take part in the stealing of land and slaughtering of the rightful land owners. Thom I remember a concert before you were famous where you announced one of your tracks before playing it, you said it would be featured on the "Justice? What Justice?" album, maybe you should revisit who you were and realize what you are doing is wrong and heartbreaking. I will never stop listening to my Radiohead collection that I currently own but I will never spend a penny on your music again, frankly I see little difference in supporting that than I would the Nazi party or One Direction, as people, should you carry out this concert, every single cause you ever fought for, evrything you ever represented will mean shit to me, you will never be in a position to preach or seek justice again when you support genocide. Your sincerely Laurence Joseph Robert Sheridan, Ireland The World Is Watching

Friday, 14 April 2017

Letter from Sarah

Dear Radiohead,

You know about the boycott, of course you do. And you know that this is going to be a contentious gig. Your music is political, you claim to be human rights activists. So here's the question I want answering: why the silence?

It's been a couple of months since you announced you're playing in Tel Aviv. You've heard the outcry from your fans and yet you've said nothing. Either have the courage to come out and explain why you've chosen to play to apartheid, or don't do it. Every day you stay silent your reputation sinks. And right now, you just look like pampered millionaires who think they can do whatever the fuck they want without answering to anyone. As a fan, I'm sad to write that - I always thought if one band was different, it was Radiohead.

Nobody regrets not playing apartheid South Africa and in years to come, nobody will regret boycotting apartheid Israel. This gig will be a black mark on your reputation forever. How much are they paying you? Is it really worth it?

Are you the world's premier political band, or are you too cowardly to come out and justify your actions? Your choice.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Letter from Giordano

I’ve always looked up on you as a model of uncompromising artistic integrity. Your music has been part of my life for such a long time that I'll always owe you a debt that cannot be repaid.

This is why the news that you will play in Tel Aviv this summer has come as an unexpected shock, especially considering that you have always been sensitive to social issues and political struggles against authoritarian governments and powerful elites.

Your concert in Tel Aviv is morally unjustifiable as it is an implicit acknowledgment of the Israel government, a government which shamelessly promotes policies of ethnical cleansing and racist segregation which are abhorrent to all people who respect humanity.

Your choice to play in Israel is utterly disgraceful since it would be a missed opportunity to raise the issue of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories  among the public .
As musicians and public persona you have the opportunity to stand up for justice, honesty, and integrity and so you must raise your voice about the plight of the Palestinian people.

You can stand by and let this happen. Or you can make a difference by adhering to the cultural boycott which is an effective instrument to mount pressure on the Israeli Government to cease its illegal acquisition of land in the West Bank and to raise public awareness about the Israeli occupation and the struggle of the Palestinian people.

Make yourself heard loud and clear that you stand with  the oppressed and not with the oppressor; that you stand with the international law and human rights conventions  which condemn settlements by UN resolution 2334; that you are still the band that we’ve grown to love and admire for their creative intrepidity and moral integrity.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Letter from Stuart

Dear Radiohead,

I just want to start with letting you know that Radiohead have been the single biggest musical influence on me since the age of 14, and you continue to be of my main inspirations 20 years later. What inspires people about your music (among many things) is that it is also infused with a social conscience and commentary about the world that people can relate to and empathise with.

I sincerely urge you to reconsider your position of playing in Tel Aviv this July, and instead to respect the current international boycott of what can only be described as an apartheid state.

I understand that there is a personal connection to Israel within the band, and that perhaps the logic of yourselves is that everyone, no matter where they are from, should be able to have the experience of seeing you play live. I understand this. You guys are human.

But this is not about the fans. This is about something much bigger than this that affects millions of people. People that experience the biggest and most horrendous form of institutional racism that has existed since apartheid South Africa. It is the single biggest injustice facing the world today. Palestinians lives are completely controlled by Israel. Thousands upon thousands of their people have been killed by Israels powerful army in the name of 'self defence'. Their borders, electricity, water supply and homes are under the control of Israel. Day by day the West Bank has settlements illegally built on by Israel. Gaza is known as the biggest prison in the world.

The international cultural boycott of apartheid Israel is having a serious effect. Radioheads position on this can be pivotal. If you play, then you will undermine the boycott and embolden the right-wing Israeli government in their campaign to wipe out Palestinian land. If you refuse to play, you will put the wind in the sails of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign and make a big difference to the cause of the Palestinian people.

I do not believe that you are able to sit on the fence on this issue. Whatever you do, you are taking a political position that has an affect on millions of people. I hope you choose the right one.

Yours hopefully


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Letter from Richard

As a long-standing Radiohead fan, I was really sickened to hear you are supporting what is, by any standards, a brutal regime by playing in Tel Aviv. I don't think I will be able to listen to any of your music, past, present or future, knowing that the artist who had created it has such a sensibility to ignore the human suffering of the Palestinians and be so ignorant of the injustices being committed by a regime that you are giving credibility to.