Downtown Miami

Pro-Palestine group calls for Radiohead to cancel Israel concert date

Thom Yorke from the band Radiohead performs at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, in New York.
Thom Yorke from the band Radiohead performs at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, in New York. Invision/AP

Popular English alternative rock band Radiohead opens its world tour at AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami on Thursday, but the sound you hear at the venue might not be all cheers.

Unless Radiohead changes its mind and cancels the scheduled July 19 concert in Tel Aviv, campaign group Radiohead Fans for Palestine plan vocal appeals during the tour, which runs up to the Israel date and includes stops in Atlanta, Seattle, the Coachella festival in California, and Glasgow.

A spokeswoman for the band from the public relations firm Nasty Little Man in New York said the band “had no comment at the moment.”

Earlier this month, the United Nations released a report that used the word “apartheid” when it accused Israel of establishing “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

The report, however, was quickly condemned by the United States and Israel and the U. N. withdrew the report, removing it from its website. Senior U.N. official Rima Khalaf resigned after she refused to withdraw it.

The anti-apartheid fans are calling on the band to respect the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel and cancel the Tel Aviv date, in respect for the 2004 cultural boycott appeal by Palestinian artists that asked performers not to play in Israel until it respects the human rights of Palestinians.

In a release, Radiohead fan Seamus O’Brolchain said: Radiohead has “always been a politically active band and Thom Yorke has campaigned on human rights issues for years, so many fans are shocked that they have chosen to break the boycott. ... We hope they will change their minds.”

A concert promoter in Israel, Guy Besser, told Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz in February, “The boycott has only marginal influence on artists, and the ones who do come here leave as goodwill ambassadors.”

Promoter Shuki Weiss told the paper that the controversy is “causing us great harm” and urged performers not to “engage in political discussions and come meet their fans here just like they do anywhere else.”

Radiohead has played Israel before, as far back as 1995 when it was opening for R.E.M., after its breakthrough song, “Creep,” was used in an Israeli TV commercial for jeans.

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