Rock band Radiohead have publicly slapped down director and left-wing activist Ken Loach after he demanded they join a cultural boycott of Israel and cancel a 19 July concert in Tel Aviv. Loach Tweeted at Radiohead singer Thom Yorke saying the band ‘need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor. The choice is simple’. In a later Tweet he informed Yorke that ‘by performing in Tel Aviv’ Radiohead would ‘undermine the struggle for human rights’.
In response Yorke wrote back to Loach, pointing out that ‘Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government’ and that they weren’t planning to boycott America due to the election of Donald Trump. Yorke added that ‘Music art and academic is about crossing borders not building them’. It was later revealed by The Jewish Chronicle, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Loach was being something of a hypocrite. His own film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is currently being shown in several Tel Aviv cinemas.
Why the hard-left continue to single out Israel, the only country in the Middle East with gay and womens rights which broadly match those of Western Europe, is anybody’s guess. Does Loach advocate boycotting Iran for executing homosexuals, or Egypt for the behaviour of its troops fighting insurgents in the Sinai Peninsula or Turkey for its treatment of the Kurds? Apparently not. For some reason, as always, its the most liberal-democratic country in the region which is the target for the most criticism.
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