TEL AVIV – Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke on Friday flipped his middle finger at a group of pro-Palestinian protesters at a gig in Glasgow, Scotland who were calling for the band to cancel its upcoming gig in Tel Aviv.
Activists from Glasgow Palestine Action, Glasgow Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Radiohead Fans for Palestine demonstrated outside the festival prior to the band’s performance. During the performance itself, Palestinian flags were waved from the crowd, prompting Yorke to exclaim no less than four times the phrase “some f*cking people!” into the microphone before reportedly flipping off the flag wavers.
(Below video contains graphic language).
— Hilary Aked (@hilary_aked) July 8, 2017
Radiohead has come under intense pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement led by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters to cancel their Tel Aviv concert later this summer. Waters, who has in the past compared Israel to Nazi Germany, uses bullying tactics to persuade a range of fellow musicians not to perform in the Jewish state.
Waters told Radiohead to “think again” about playing in a country “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people.” Israel does not impose any apartheid system on the Palestinian people. But the band ignored the extremist call to boycott, with Thom Yorke telling Rolling Stone magazine it was “deeply distressing” that Waters and other BDS activists “choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw s**t at us in public.”
“I’ll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting,” said Yorke to the Rolling Stone interviewer. “There’s an awful lot of people who don’t agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all, along with J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and a long list of others.”
“The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white. I have a problem with that,” Yorke explained. “It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public.
“It’s deeply disrespectful to assume that we’re either being misinformed or that we’re so retarded we can’t make these decisions ourselves. I thought it was patronizing in the extreme. It’s offensive and I just can’t understand why going to play a rock show or going to lecture at a university [is a problem to them].”
While a few artists, including Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill, caved to pressure from the BDS movement, most have ignored it, with Tel Aviv seeing concerts from the likes of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Santana, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Aerosmith, Britney Spears and Bon Jovi in recent years.