Radiohead’s Thom Yorke responds to Ken Loach’s pro-BDS op-ed in the Indy.

Yesterday, anti-Zionist activist director Ken Loach took to the virtual pages of The Independent (increasingly the favourite forum for the Corbynista wing of the British left) to rebuke Thom Yorke, lead singer of the band Radiohead, for refusing to cancel his upcoming Tel Aviv gig.  As is often the case with such pro-BDS polemics, Loach’s justification for the call to politically, economically and culturally isolate Israel – and only Israel – included several blatant distortions. It also contained one outright lie: that there are “racially segregated roads” in the West Bank.

We followed up our tweet with an email to Indy editors, providing background on this myth and demonstrating that there are no – nor have there ever been – “racially segregated” or “Jews-only roads” in Israel or the West Bank.

Additionally, Radiohead’s Yorke responded to Loach on Twitter, providing a broader argument against excluding millions of Jews from the international community. 

Finally, Dave Rich of The CST contextualises Loach’s BDS activism by providing some useful background in these tweets, which include a reminder that in 1987 Loach directed Perdition, a play – widely viewed as antisemitic – that was ultimately cancelled by the Royal Court Theatre.

(For those active on Twitter, here’s Loach’s handle: @KenLoachSixteen.)

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21 replies »

  1. “Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor” says Loach. Where’s his campaign for gay people in Gaza or ‘honour killing’ victims on the West Bank?

  2. It’s all quite simple. Ken Loach lives in a world with separate roads. He invariably takes the one road, and feels comfortable, because other people with similar ideas always take this road. Eventually Ken Loach feels that everybody travels on this road, mainly because he hardly ever talks with or listens to people traveling on the other road. Every so now and then en Loach tosses a message to the people traveling on the second road, and is mightily surprised that not everybody on the other road agrees with him.

    it would be better for all of us if there was just the one road.

  3. And where are his tweets against Sting’s October concert in Moscow? Free Ukraine? Naa, they don’t matter – it’s only the poor oppressed pals who matter. Ken Loach is a pos.

  4. The link to a review and then exchange of letters of the play Perdition makes for fascinating reading. It seems that the playwright got his history from Lonnie Brenner – the same source for Ken Livingstone’s comments about Hitler being favorable to Zionism. That Loach associated himself with such historical drivel and apparently continues to do so today without any amount of soul searching or intellectual integrity, speaks volumes. Of additional interest is that the polemic in the link appears to be within the socialist camp and, I couldn’t help but think that if you substituted the work “Trotskyism” for “Zionism” in the dialogue the reviewer quotes in his letter reply to (of all people Tony Greenstein), there might be more historical accuaracy in the exchange in so far as world views are concerned. In fact, that whole debate made me wonder if the ire of the far left directed at Israel is more a function of its defection from the socialist camp for the capitalist one which resulted in the vibrant first world economy it now has. After all, it may be the case that in their own minds, they associate their leftist movement with Jews who are now, through Israel, viewed as traitors to the cause. In other words, to them, Israel is an example of the continuing importance of both nationalism (as opposed to internationalism or a workers paradise) and regulated markets (as opposed to socialist/communist command economies). If this analysis is correct, then the Palestinian Arabs are a convenient cudgel and this in turn explains why these leftist are only concerned with Palestinian rights where Israel (read Jews) are involved and not when Arabs – or anyone else – actually deprive them of their life or liberty.

  5. Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor.

    Given Ken has spent over 50 years standing with the oppressor not the oppressed when it comes to Cuba , I am not sure he is in any position to make that claim . Although I understand that is ‘different ‘ well sorry Ken but not to the actual people of Cuba .

  6. BDs needs to decide whether to stand with the Jews or would be Arab genocidal Jew haters. The choice should be simple.

    • Lying Lefty bigoted nonsense. The real “oppressed” are the innocent Israeli civilian victims of literally thousands of murder-attempting acts of terrorism by the ‘oppressor” Palestinian radical nut jobs.No country in the world would tolerate this violence against its citizens, and Israel is much more patient and tolerant than almost any other country.

      Not Jewish, but lived in the Mideast for 8 years, and just sick and tired of the “fashionable” but usually thoroughly dishonest bashing of democratic little Israel by idiot Lefty self-indulgent liars like Loach, the lizard Corbyn, etc.

    • And BTW, what “race” are Palestinians as opposed to Israelis? This is typical Lefty agitprop, full of hateful leftwing bigoted antisemitic nonsense.

  7. I think what Radiohead are clearly demonstrating is that some people just don’t age very well. It could be of course, that Thom was a young fogey and we just didn’t notice.