R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe voices support for Radiohead’s Israel performance


(JNS.org) Michael Stipe, frontman of the American rock band R.E.M., voiced support for Radiohead’s decision to perform in Israel in defiance of the anti-Israel BDS movement.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe. Credit: Kris Krug via Wikimedia Commons.

“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. Sincerely, Michael Stipe,” Stipe wrote in an Instagram post.

Stipe’s support for Radiohead’s July 19 Israel concert follows April’s BDS petition against the show, issued by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“By playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, U.N. rapporteurs say, ‘A system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people’…Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over,” Waters and Tutu wrote in a letter issued on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Last week, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke defended his band’s decision to perform in Israel following a dispute on Twitter with British filmmaker Ken Loach.

“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government,” Yorke wrote. “We don’t endorse [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu any more than [President Donald] Trump, but we still play in America.”

Yorke 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. I hope that makes it clear Ken.”

Posted on July 18, 2017 .