Radiohead live in Italy. September 26, 2012. Photo: Daniele Dalledonne, via Flickr

Professor Ilan Pappe on Radiohead performance in Israel: “Immoral to perform”

Ilan Pappe, Israeli Professor of History at the University of Exeter and author of numerous books (including ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’, ‘Israel and South Africa: the Many Faces of Apartheid’, ‘The Idea of Israel’, and more) issued on July 18th a statement regarding English rock band Radiohead’s performance in Israel which is scheduled to take place tomorrow in Tel Aviv’s Park HaYarkon. The show has been criticised by many who support a cultural boycott of Israel due to its policies towards the Palestinians, including an open letter by 50 prominent figures urging the band to cancel its show. This will be Radiohead’s ninth time performing in Israel, but the first time after the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement began in 2005. 


The oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories has not ceased for one day in the last 50 years. This oppression includes daily violations of Palestinian human and civil rights and does not spare children, pregnant mothers, old people, disabled persons and ordinary men and women.

The so called peace process has failed to end this oppression and each failure of its various stages has produced more oppression and despair for the millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The only way to end this oppression, now in its 50th year, is to send a strong message to Israeli society and government that the world has not forgotten the Palestinians and their demands for an immediate end to the occupation.

The only message that works is that of pressure, such as was applied against Apartheid South Africa, and which proved to be effective in bringing down that regime. Such a message can only be carried out through joining the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the state of Israel. Part of this just and effective campaign is the cultural and academic boycott.

It sends a strong message that there is a price tag attached to the inhumanity imposed by the Israeli government and tolerated by its society.

While tens of thousands of Israelis will enjoy listening to Radiohead in Tel-Aviv, millions of Palestinians suffer from killings, deportations, arrest without trial (including of children), closures, checkpoints, absence of water and electricity and confinement in the biggest prison upon earth.

It would be immoral to perform under such circumstances.

The statement was published by Ilan Pappe as a Google Doc on his Facebook page, later syndicated to AFP’s site.

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