Friends of friends have been asking me about "the point of cultural boycotts"... Regarding Radiohead's coming show in Israel.
This question betrays so much lack of understanding of the situation in Palestine, in former colonies and in Apartheid South Africa...
Just willing to add a few arguments here that I shared elsewhere on social media.
The point is that such a band cannot play for Palestians too, and more over that most Palestinians have no access to safety, electricity, basic human rights or even a passport nowadays. Adding the blocus of Gaza, the constant grabbing of their lands in the West Bank, and the millions of refugees stuck in Lebanon and beyond, there are no situation more unfair in this world. Millions of people have no right at all, on in the name of Israel obsession with security, building higher walls. The right-wing Israeli press has been using Radiohead's little show as the best example of the Netanyahu government's respectability for months now.
"It's worth remembering that ... the cultural boycott was incredibly important when it came to South Africa," said Naomi Klein, among others. The BDS movement, she added to different media, "comes from a very, very broad cross-section of Palestinian civil society, and with very, very few tactics at their disposal."
I can't believe they cannot think again on this! Like they live in a bubble and refuse to see the consequences of this decision. Just reading the Israeli right wing media gives an idea of how their coming is used as a victory for the current regime! And he should know as their guitarist is married to an Israeli. It is so oddly not relevant to insist on remaining blind on the situation for Palestinians!
I think they care to show they know better. Having read some comments from Jonny Greenwood's wife, defending Jewish people's rights in Israel, criticizing Arab governments, they do think their views on the issue are clever than from people advocating for a cultural boycott. And they then do believe the situation is not harmful enough for the Palestinians. Yorke is comparing Netanyahu to Trump, which can be relevant for some issues, but I find that the situation for Palestinians is much more serious. It is a unique case in current politics.
To me, this goes way beyond Radiohead.
For two decades, Palestinians were resorting to terrorism to get their voices heard. Since 2006, the support of Western artists helped the part of civil society which refused violence to get their point out there pacifically. This is what it is about. And a show like this one is just screaming: "we don't care, we have no responsibility in this world as artists, we just do what pleases us". It is very selfish, very childish, dangerous and heartbreaking, especially compared the the severe amount of suffering for real, normal, disrespected and abandoned people.
If it makes some feel better: Let's call it a "cultural, responsible SUPPORT" to those in need.
Don't get me wrong. I've been to Israel, with my journalism school, which was willing to reopen a dialogue, but that was before the Lebanon war in 2006! And before this wave of extra building operations in the West Bank. One of my best friends is also Israeli.
Radiohead could totally go to Israel with a project to open a dialogue, but that is not at all what this is about.