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Read Roger Waters’ Response to Thom Yorke Over Radiohead Israel Controversy

Roger Waters has responded to Thom Yorke‘s remarks concerning Radiohead‘s upcoming Israel concerts and the BDS movement, claiming that Yorke’s version “doesn’t tell the whole story.”

In April, over 50 prominent figures, including Waters, Thurston Moore, Desmond Tutu and filmmaker Ken Loach, signed a petition urging Radiohead to cancel their Israel performance next month as part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that began in 2005.

Yorke finally broke his silence on the call to boycott Israel in his recent Rolling Stone interview, where he criticized the petitioners’ approach. “It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public,” the singer said.

However, in a statement to Rolling Stone, Waters counters that he made several attempts to “start a dialogue” with Yorke about the Israel shows prior to the April 23rd petition, but the Radiohead singer “misinterpreted my attempt to start a conversation as a threat” and angrily responded to Waters before cutting off communication.

“I have made every effort to engage with [Yorke] personally, and would still like to have the conversation,” Waters wrote, adding that today, June 5th, is “the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine by Israel.”

“Fifty years living under military occupation. Fifty years for a people with no civil rights. Fifty years of no recourse to the law. Fifty years of apartheid,” Waters wrote.

Read Waters’ entire statement below:

I read Thom Yorke’s interview in Rolling Stone. It needs a reply as it doesn’t tell the whole story.

On February 12th, hoping to start a dialogue, I sent an email expressing my concern about Radiohead crossing the BDS picket line to perform in Israel. A few hours later, Thom replied. He was angry. He had misinterpreted my attempt to start a conversation as a threat. So I tried again.

“Hey Thom,

I’m sorry. My letter wasn’t meant to be confrontational. I was reaching out to see if we could have the conversation that you talk about in your reply. Can we?

Love,
R.”

I didn’t hear back. So silence prevailed for three weeks until March 4th when I sent a long heartfelt entreaty to Thom asking him again to talk.

In Thom’s interview with Andy Greene of Rolling Stone, in referring to Ken Loach and me, he says, “It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public.”

That is not true, Thom. I have made every effort to engage with you personally, and would still like to have the conversation.

“Not to talk is not an option.”

Today is the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine by Israel. Fifty years living under military occupation. Fifty years for a people with no civil rights. Fifty years of no recourse to the law. Fifty years of apartheid.

The BDS picket line exists to shine a light on the predicament of the occupied people of Palestine, both in Palestine and those displaced abroad, and to promote equal civil rights for all the people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea no matter what their nationality, race or religion. All human life is sacred, every child is our child, exceptionalism is always our enemy. There is no Us or Them, only Us.

Restiamo umani.

Love,

Roger Waters

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