Thom Yorke doesn’t agree with the calls to ‘culturally boycott’ Israel

Thom Yorke performs songs by Radiohead at the Roundhouse

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel doesn’t seem very big here in America. Meaning, it doesn’t feel like BDS is a cultural thing that we talk about that often, and American artists aren’t forced to speak about why they continue to perform in Israel. It feels like BDS is more of a European thing, and many British and European performers boycott Israel when it comes to touring. BDS started as a “complete cultural boycott of Israel until Palestinians are granted the ‘right of return’ and Israel’s West Bank barrier is dismantled.” Basically, until a two-state solution happens, BDS asks that artists boycott any and all performances in Israel.

Radiohead is not one of those bands participating in a boycott though. The last date of their A Moon Shaped Pool Tour will be in Tel Aviv in July. It will be their first tour stop in Israel since the BDS movement began in 2005. It’s become a thing, actually. According to Rolling Stone, more than “50 prominent figures, including Roger Waters, Desmond Tutu, Thurston Moore and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, signed a petition urging Radiohead to cancel the show.” At Radiohead’s concerts, banners are being held up, bashing the band for playing at “the ‘apartheid’ state of Israel.” Rolling Stone did a cover story with Radiohead in the newest issue, and Thom Yorke was asked directly about all of this. I came away really impressed with the nuance of his position. Here’s what he has to say:

“I’ll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting. 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. There are people I admire [who have been critical of the concert] like [English film director] Ken Loach, who I would never dream of telling where to work or what to do or think. The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that’s black or white. I have a problem with that. It’s deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw sh-t 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].

The university thing is more of a head f–k for me. It’s like, really? You can’t go talk to other people who want to learn stuff in another country? Really? The one place where you need to be free to express everything you possibly can. You want to tell these people you can’t do that? And you think that’s gonna help?

The person who knows most about these things is [Radiohead guitarist] Jonny [Greenwood]. He has both Palestinian and Israeli friends and a wife who’s an Arab Jew. All these people to stand there at a distance throwing stuff at us, waving flags, saying, “You don’t know anything about it!” Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny. And imagine how upsetting that it’s been to have this out there. Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word “apartheid” around and think that’s enough. It’s f–king weird. It’s such an extraordinary waste of energy. Energy that could be used in a more positive way.

This is the first time I’ve said anything about it. Part of me wants to say nothing because anything I say cooks up a fire from embers. But at the same time, if you want me to be honest, yeah, it’s really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years. They talk down to us and I just find it mind-boggling that they think they have the right to do that. It’s extraordinary.

…All of this creates divisive energy. You’re not bringing people together. You’re not encouraging dialogue or a sense of understanding. Now if you’re talking about trying to make things progress in any society, if you create division, what do you get? You get f–king Theresa May. You get [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, you get f–king Trump. That’s divisive.

[From Rolling Stone]

What I appreciate is that he’s actually thought long and hard about whether boycotting Israel is the right thing to do, and he’s come down on the side of no boycott. Thom Yorke didn’t fall backwards into a controversy, he didn’t walk into Tel Aviv, not understanding where he stood. He’s refusing to boycott Israel because he doesn’t believe a boycott will do anything, and because he believes the power of cultural and artistic exchange is a better option than an all-or-nothing approach.

Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

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81 Responses to “Thom Yorke doesn’t agree with the calls to ‘culturally boycott’ Israel”

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  1. Izzy says:

    BDS is very big on college campuses on the US, and is often accompanied by blatant anti-Semitic rhetoric that talks about killing Jews.

    BDS successfully pressured Sodastream to move their factory out of the West Bank. 500 Palestinians lost their jobs because of that. They made living wages before that. So, you know, well done there, I guess? SMH

    • arbelia says:

      Well Sodastream had its factory in a colony. Of course it was controversial. Colonies are illegal! It’s a violation of International Law. After the factory moved out, 74 palestinians went to work in Israel in the new factory, but they had to be fired, because their working licence had not been renewed. Sodastream Director was furious with Israel authorities , that they refused to renew the licences. An btw Palestinians needed licences even to work in the West Bank colonies.

    • arbelia says:

      Hum, i just figured that in english it’s “settlements ” not “colonies”. EXcuse my Frenglish.

      • Amy says:

        It’s more powerful when you said “colonies”, because, although “settlements” is usually the term, it sounds so calm and passive, when it is ANYTHING but. It IS colonization, and it IS apartheid. I was just there and it brought tears to my eyes every day. I’ve never seen people so ill-treated personally in my life (and I spend a lot of time in marginalized communities). Thanks for listening to my rant. and your Frenglish is great and made a good point!!

    • Leen says:

      I hate when people feel the need to talk on behalf of the Palestinians.

      Thank god sodastream moved factories. They didn’t have to fire 500 Palestinians. They just didn’t want to apply for permits for them and pay them Israeli wages while operating illegally in Palestinian land that could be used for empowering the Palestinian economy.

      So no, BDS didn’t make 500 Palestinians lose their job.

      I am not BDS, but for the life of me I cannot understand people who defend settlements. They are literally making the entire conflict worse.

  2. Cleo says:

    Did he really use the word “retarded”? I appreciate the complexity of his situation, but bruh.

    • Ebba says:

      How do you feel about the word spaz? My American friends hate the word retard but throw the word spaz around. It’s bizarre.

    • Laura says:

      I took a pause when I read that, too. But I do believe he is using the word with the true definition and not using the word as a slur. It makes sense when I read it in that context.

    • Beth says:

      It a word that means “slow.” I’d never use it because most likely someone would automatically assume I was using in a mean crass way. He used it the correct way

      • Cleo says:

        I agree that he used it correctly. I just think he could’ve thought of an alternative word, since there’s so much negativity and misuse surrounding it.

      • grumpy says:

        He is British, how is he supposed to know that he cannot use a word (and use it correctly) because people in a foreign country have decided it means something else and why should he have to anyway. Some people want to find reasons to be offended. How about people learn that other cultures and countries do things differently.

  3. Luca76 says:

    As a person of South African descent I disagree fundamentally that boycott doesn’t work.
    Disagreeing with the Israeli government policies (which I do) isn’t in anyway anti-semetic. Unfortunately the jewish population in the us is at times more conservative about this issue than those in Israel. I know that just like in the US with Trump many Israeli’s are horrified by their government.

    That being said everyone has a right to follow their own conscience.

    • Sarah says:

      Was just coming here to say this, as a South African who lived through sanctions, I do think they work, they’re an effective means of shaming people

    • Alba says:

      I am not South African but the first thing I thought about when he says cultural boycott doesn’t work was your country.

  4. Pamsicle says:

    BDS is blatantly anti-Semitic. It’s in-vogue with left leaning people who are ignorant or willfully ignorant of the facts. Israel did withdraw from Gaza and the PAlestinians used their freedom and money to build tunnels into Israeli towns to attack. Palestinian children are taught about the heroism of Martyring oneself by killing Jews in grade school. Yet Israel is always the one being criticized. It’s absurd.

    • Imqrious2 says:

      I wish there was a like button here. I’d hit it a thousand times for your reply, Pamsicle. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

    • reverie says:

      EXACTLY! I wonder if most of these boycotters have even spoken to a Palestinian. I have yet to meet one who hasnt told me that the biggest boot on their neck is Hamas.

    • Gina says:

      ^ ^ ^ @Pamsicle THIS x 1000. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. X

    • Sarah says:

      Ah man, this takes me back to the bullshit apartheid supporters used to spout in South Africa in the nineties. All the nonsense about how ‘they’ were savages who did it to themselves, and needed a firm hand or ‘they’ would perpetrate all sorts of atrocities. And absolutely no perspective about how if you back people into a corner and brutalise them for decades, of course they eventually are forced ​to resort to violence.

      • Kate says:

        Israel is well on its way to become Apartheid SA 2.0 IMO. And it’s funny how French Resistance members are glorified when they did all the same things Palestinians are now doing.

      • Amy says:


    • Jane says:

      Are you serious? Do you think THAT’S the problem? Or the only one? I have so many Palestinian friends who are expats without a home country or the ability to go back, whose families have gone through so much incredible suffering and torture at the hands of the Israelis. Israel routinely blocks medical supplies and water to Palestine. There are incidences EVERY SINGLE DAY of Israeli armies shooting innocent Palestinians, including children, throwing people out of their homes, having illegal inspections of Palestinian villages…I am astounded by the lack of information and blatant ignorance you’ve presented here. You would do well to see the horrific speeches given by Israeli politicians, including from the current government, citing Palestinians as animals and terrorists, as Israelis graze peoples’ home and annihilate their families. Please stop simplifying an issue that affects REAL people. The Middle East crisis is not some coffee-table topic. You can start by adding a few dollars to the UN fund for Gaza so kids can go to school and people can get food, and sign some petitions to prevent Israel from demolishing medical centers, cultural hubs and homes in Palestine. And let me reiterate, IT IS STILL HAPPENING. Israel did not simply withdraw its troops and the crazy Palestinians built tunnels to kill poor Israelis from. Please educate yourself, and let your breaking heart move you to help the Palestinians, who are, I repeat once again, REAL people with real families and lives and dreams, not just a “crisis” to solve. You can start by getting a hold of statistics from the UN and Amnesty International, and then reading more about the issue from Electronic Intifada and If Americans Knew, both excellent journalistic endeavours on the issues. You’ll have stacks of proof and references to help you. Then read about BDS, and stop hiding behind lazy cries of anti-Semitism to invalidate real intellectual discussions on the issue.

      • Luca76 says:

        There’s absolutely nothing Anti Semetic about giving real accounts of what’s happening on the ground in Israel. I know and have spoken to many Jews and even Israeli citizens that are horrified by their government. That doesn’t mean that Hamas is good either but both sides need to have a reckoning.

      • Pamsicle says:

        Jane, I see from your comment that you are a compassionate person. But you are just unaware of the full situation. Israel will treat Palestinians in Israeli hospitals. Israel provides aid. The PALESTINIANS use their money to build tunnels and buy weapons instead of helping their own people. And you must ask WHY in the world Israel would bomb hospitals and schools. This isn because the Palestinians use these places where their own children live and play as human shields to protect weapons and high ranking terrorist officials. And why would they block medical supplies? Because ofthe weapons that are constantly being smuggled in. For the hatred and violence that they are taught and is ingrained into them as children, the Palestinians are indeed victims.

      • Jane says:

        David, do not make incendiary comments if you have nothing of value to say. This issue affects actual human beings, so this should compel you to treat it as such.

      • Saks says:

        Preach Jane!!!! Supporting Palestinians doesn’t mean anti-semitism. I’m glad ppl are finally opening their eyes to that false narrative that pointing how wrong is Israel treating Palestinians equals hating Jews.

      • Kate says:

        I would like to add that some of the infrastructure the Israeli army loves to bomb every so often are build with European and US money. So we build, we bring the money and they destroy. I really don’t know why we even support Nutty-yahoo anymore.

      • A says:

        Thank you, Jane!

      • Magnoliarose says:

        I think your heart is in the right place but there is more to it than what is on the surface.
        They seem to skip over the issue of terrorism and the role it plays in this dynamic. It is the height of hypocrisy for all of these people who don’t live with terrorism up close and personal to demonize someone else’s justified fear. Look how fast Isolationists made inroads in Europe and we elected a man who wants to ban Muslims. Period. It was possible because of terrorism and fear. I truly wonder how many of these people have even been to Israel and talked to people who live it daily or spent time with mixed groups of people and heard their views.
        My parents sent us all to Israel for our gap year and I have been many times as a child and adult. I have family there and was there this past year. If you talk to different people there are so many different views and discussions can get emotional yet not once did anyone ever say they didn’t want peace or to coexist.
        A boycott is useless as long as Bibi is in power. Just like I don’t want to be associated with Trump’s views, plenty of Israelis aren’t supportive of what is happening. Netanyahu isn’t even popular. How he keeps winning I don’t know. I would have thought fear mongering would have worn thin by now. Even scandals with his terrible wife fail to stop him. Google that witch and behold Trump’s true soulmate.

        Thom Yorke isn’t knee jerk responding because he has actually taken the time to think about the total picture.

    • Wilma says:

      Israel still controls the border and if and what comes into Gaza, which has some serious implications for the economy there. There’s also the West Bank, where troubles are no where near being close to a solution and Israel is still the occupying army. Then there’s the way Arab Israelis are being treated as third class citizens, the monopoly Israel has on water supplies, the new nationalistic tone in Israeli schools, the rise of fundamentalism that makes certain areas of Jeruzalem no-go areas for women (amongst a slew of other problems this creates), the fact that it’s harder and harder to organize a gay pride parade in Israel…
      I’m personally unsure of the effects of a boycot as Israel’s most important critics are Israelis, but please don’t act as if there’s nothing to criticize here. Israel claims to be a democracy and to have the rule of law, so I’m going to criticize them if there are actions that clash with that. As soon as the Palestinians have a functioning democracy and a functioning state I’ll do the same. But they haven’t and although we need to put pressure on Hamas and Fatah to create democratic institutions, hold fair elections, establish the rule of law and end corruption, as long as things are still as chaotic as they are, we shouldn’t treat the Palestinians as a monolith (as we should also remember that the opposition in Israel excists).

      • Jane says:

        Thank you so much. My heart is broken at the things people are saying here – as if Palestinians are angry animals bred to hate Jews, and no amount of actual statistical evidence and accounts by Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike against Israeli cruelty are valid.

      • Pamsicle says:

        Hamas And FAtah are TERRORIST organizations.

      • Jane says:

        Pamsicle, please Google “Israel-Palestine conflict myths” and “humans shields Hamas myths”. You will see for yourself where you’re informed. The Huffington Post did an excellent research-backed article on the latter.

        And funnily enough, those terrorist labels have been handed out by Israel and the US.

      • Nahid says:

        @Jane The only person equating Palestinians with animals around here appears to be you (in two separate posts, no less).

      • Bethy says:

        @Jane have you ever been to Israel or the West Bank? I have, I lived there. There are horrible atrocities on BOTH sides, neither side is free of blame. As a US citizen with an Israeli significant other, I carried my passport around because there are check points everywhere, just not in Gaza or West Bank. The reason for the checks? Terrorism. It’s gotten worse from what I’ve heard from ex-pat friends still living there after I left because of ISIS and other groups trying to fill a void as the government tries to get rid of Hamas.

        If you never lived in a place where just going to the mall, grocery store or riding the bus literally means you take your life in your own hands every day (suicide bombers), you don’t know what it’s like to live in fear every waking minute. When I lived there, the local mall was bombed. As an American I never understood how lucky I was living in a free and relatively safe society until I lived in Israel.

        I had Palestinian friends, I had Israeli friends. I believe in a two-state solution and no more settlements, but extremists on both sides try to disrupt that process. It’s very easy to talk about a place one’s never lived in or visited, but just read articles about. I used to be like that, now I reserve judgment. Myself, I moved back to the US because the level of fear and stress wasn’t something I could handle. I know I’m lucky I had that option. My ex chose to stay. Hopefully, the younger generations of Palestinians and Israelis will figure this out in my lifetime. However, I’m pessimistic and with son-in-law Jared in charge of the ‘peace,’ I won’t hold my breath.

        I pray for both sides.

      • Wilma says:

        @pamsicle: That’s all you got as an answer to my post? Because your straw man defense isn’t convincing. It implies that you are not able to refute my criticism of the Israeli government.

      • JG says:

        the fact that it’s harder and harder to organize a gay pride parade in Israel…

        Wilma, there are 10 countries where homosexual acts are punishable by death. Israel isn’t one of them. ALL 10 are Muslim. Your misinformation discredits your entire post. As is generally the case with people like you, and Roger Waters, who are just out to discredit and demonize the only Jewish state in the world. And claim they are not anti-Semitic.

      • Jane says:

        @Bethy It’s all fine and dandy to say that BOTH sides are wrong, but you’re looking at a long complex issue with many angry parties and years of propaganda and revisionism. If you truly claim to be all about peace, you would do humanity a favor by extensively studying the issue to come to understand who is clearly wrong and who is right, instead of your incredibly simplistic conclusion of throwing your hands up in the air and shrugging, “Well, both sides suck, so who knows?”

        I also implore you exclude your personal experiences to defend your opinion on a decades long political and human rights issue. It’s ignorant and disrespectful. I have lived for years in a country with terrible security – bombs so close to my house they shattered windows. Been to school in that environment. Witnessed firsthand random gunfire in the streets. I’m not sure what this is supposed to prove, except to add to your vague idea of “stop the bad guys” and “no one is right”. These conclusions don’t help. These issues have patterns and beginnings, and it’s up to us to discover them.

        Also, had Palestinian partners. Not sure where you were going with that either.

        I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but Google “Top Ten Myths about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” by the Foreign Policy Journal and “Debunking Israel’s 11 Main Myths About Gaza, Hamas and War Crimes” by the Huffington Post and “If Americans Knew history”, as well as Amnesty International’s “ISRAEL AND OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES 2016/2017″ for full referenced articles on the conflict. And that’s just the beginning. I can’t post links here. Good luck.

      • Wilma says:

        @JG Are you denying that the growing group of ultra-orthodox jews in Israel is trying to get these parades banned or that there have been violent incidents involving orthodox-jews and gay pride events? Because that’s happening and documented. This is a growing problem in Israel as the influence of ultra-orthodox jews is growing and their party Shas is in government. Are you saying that because it’s worse elsewhere we should just ignore this? What the hell kind of argument is that?
        In The Netherlands we have a fundamentalist christian party that sometimes provides the government with a majority in parliament. They tried to get our government to be one of the few countries not to condemn Uganda for their anti-lbgt laws. Should I ignore that because we are one of the best countries for gay rights? That’s ridiculous.

      • Wilma says:

        @Lydia It’s called the Tel Aviv bubble for a reason. Tel Aviv being a haven for LBGT-people in the entire region. Sadly, that’s not the situation in the whole of Israel. I don’t think it’s antisemitic to dissagree with ultra-orthodox jews stabbing 15 year old gay kids or throwing stones at women who aren’t appropiately dressed. It’s not antisemitic to explain that the growing political influence of ultra-orthodox jews is troubling for a host of reasons, amongst them the crippling influence it’s having on the peace process, but also the stiffling of dissenting voices in Israel itself.
        Thom Yorke is talking here about Israel and the cultural boycott of Israel. That’s why I’m commenting on the political situation in Israel that has been growing more and more conservative. That’s not antisemitic, it is in fact agreeing with a lot of Israeli gay rights activists.

    • Kate says:

      You should replace Israel with South Africa.

    • Margo S. says:

      Supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel does not make you anti semetic. I’m sure many anti semetic people people hop on that bandwagon because they are just looking for something to complain about, but if you actually research this and speak to both sides about It, it’s a very troubling situation. I’m not keen on how the Israeli government is handling this, but I love the Israeli people. Just because their government is effed doesn’t mean the whole country is.

      • Ksenia says:

        Margo S.–I agree w you. Unfortunately, b/c anti-Semitism has been around for SO long, and is such a terrible thing, both historically and presently, many Jews DO feel that any criticism leveled at the non-democracy of Israel is simply anti-Semitism in disguise. And that *is* the case, at times–or a good part of it. But, the fact is, it is NOT always anti-Semitism at all, but feelings of empathy and outrage for the long term, relentless suffering of the Palestinians under Israeli rule. There is a REASON–more than one–that Palestinians despise Israeli occupation–a government which has assigned itself the power to displace them, tear down their houses, steal their land, subject its people to overt prejudice and segregation and hostility—a life or death grip over them, at the hands of a foreign, hostile nation. And Israelis complain that other countries have such worse human rights issues, so why all the focus on THEIRS: it is anti-Semitism, they claim, only. And I think, to some extent, that’s right, but then, Israel is the ONLY one of those human rights reducing countries that actually has the gall to claim it is a “democracy”—-and thus, deserving of accolades and certainly of U.S. protection. That is one of the more hypocritical parts of Israeli politics, which is increasingly rigidly right wing: that they believe themselves to be a “shining beacon of democracy”, an *example* of pure democracy for the rest of the world to emulate and follow. Thankfully, no thanks…Another thing I dislike is the tendency of some Israelis and American Jews of portraying Palestinians as animals bereft of any morals or reasons for their rage at Israel, for teaching their children to hate Israel as well. ANYONE who grows up under a restrictive, foreign occupying government, is going to *naturally* come to despise their oppressors–that’s human nature, not some sort of dire reflection on the natures of Palestinians themselves. Oddly, more of my American Jewish friends–some who have not travelled to Israel–are more approving of Israeli policies than the Israelis I know, who tend to be very outspoken about injustice, and who see it and speak out against it in their native country. Maybe that comes from having lived there, having had more direct experience with it. It’s such a divisive subject, and one that is certainly not black and white.

  5. Radley says:

    What exactly would it take for Israel and Palestine to actually sit down and negotiate? That is the eternal question. I guess economic pressure could help. But that situation is deeply entrenched with enmity on both sides. Really, the whole world would need to come together and say we need y’all to fix this. Like the Paris Accord or something.

    Celebs boycotting isn’t gonna be enough.

    • Pumpkin Pie says:

      W/ all due respect: No, the whole world doesn’t need to come together in “this” because “this” is not a global problem. “We” do not need to fix “this”. “This” should be fixed by Israel and the Palestinians. There has been interference from the very beginning and no solution.

      • Magnoliarose says:

        Thank you Pumpkin Pie. This all started because of the British and Lord Balfour in 1917. Outside influences have done nothing but harm.

      • Kate says:

        My grandfather fought against the French colonization. As his granddaughter, I’m not giving money to the occupant.

  6. acakeofcheese says:

    I feel like the BDS movement has picked up a lot of steam in Britain and especially in British universities. The anti-semitism surrounding the boycott is extremely problematic though and needs to be addressed. I understand that people feel really passionate about the issue but if you care that much, EDUCATE yo’self! The goal is so lofty and immense that people who are involved in BDS need to hold themselves and the movement to a higher standard.

  7. Dumbledork says:

    He had me until he used the word retarded. Why on earth does anyone think this word is okay to use?

  8. QQ says:

    Thom Yorke I Get you, support your stance and AM probably your Number 1-2 Stan FOR LIFE,… But Baby “retarded” What is you doing?!?!?

    That said That Moon shaped Pool concert I went to a couple months back is the most beautifulest amount of the best Radiohead songs evveeerrr, Their Light engineer or whomever designs that stuff is a GENIUS they were incredible, the merch was so so pretty, the Thom Yorke Joyful Mandancing to Identikit ? I replay that every time im sad

  9. toni says:

    All of those artists boycotting Israel would never boycot the US or Britian, despite the atrocities they have comitted or are still comitting. The hypocrisy is laughable.

    The left leaning parties and movements especially in Europe have always been extremely Anti-Semitic and now they call it Anti-Israel sentiment. The British Labour party is such a group. They openly sympathize with terrorist groups.

    • sa says:


      The hypocrisy of those that support BDS while happily (and without moral conflict) enjoying the financial rewards of doing business in America is staggering. I would say that BDS is a thinly veiled justification for anti-Semitism, except that I don’t think it’s even veiled.

  10. Kate says:

    Retarded ? Anyway many, both in Europe and in the US, did not give two shit about the sufferings of South Africans back in the day so I don’t expect them to care about Palestinians. Agree with the antisemetism in some parts of the BDS movement though.

  11. Kate says:

    IMO the two state solutions completely and definitely died with the election of Trump. But, despite the Israeli government’s best efforts, Palestinians won’t die. So what we will have is a Jewish State with 4 millions second state citizens. Apartheid 2.0 …here I come.

    • Luca76 says:

      Sadly the biggest supporters of South African Apartheid were the US and Israel.

      • Kate says:

        Something they like to brush off but that South Africans have not forgotten. There is a reason why Nutty-yahoo was not invited to Mandela’s funeral and it ain’t scheduling conflict.

      • Gina says:

        Funny you say that, as white supremacy reaches new highs in the US under the Trump administration. I’m horribly ashamed to say I have been blind to the mounting racial prejudice I am currently witnessing and being exposed to in the US.

  12. knotslaning says:

    Apartheid is the forced separation of populations in which one people establishes a regime of permanent and structured domination over another. Apartheid was first used to refer to the legal, social, and cultural practices of white South Africans (or Afrikaaners) who institutionalized racial, economic, and legal discrimination against native South Africans and other non-European groups.

    Israel is building huge settlement blocs in the West Bank, housing literally hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers on Palestinian soil. The Wall (or “Separation Barrier”), a 26 foot high concrete wall in some places, an electrified fence in others, follows the outer edge of these settlements, essentially annexing huge areas of the West Bank into Israel. If you look at a map showing the footprint of the Israeli settlements, you see that they essentially break the West Bank into four small islands surrounded and essentially controlled by Israel.

    Former President Jimmy Carter, a “hero” to Israelis for his brokering of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, is one of those suggesting that the term “apartheid” is appropriate to describe what is happening to Palestinians. It is not difficult to see the similarities with what were once black African “homelands” within South Africa – areas with extremely limited self-governing authority because they were politically and economically dependent on South Africa. South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu concurs, “I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”

    Indeed, Israel itself calls its policy hafrada, which means separation, the exact meaning of the word apartheid. The safety and security of one people, be they American or Jewish, can ever be obtained by the systemic and oppressive treatment of another. In fact one can claim it is in Israel’s best interests when people name what the government is doing, since it is these horrific actions of the Israeli government that threaten the future of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians alike. This is why people use the word apartheid when referring to Israel/Palestine.

    Oh yeah, and the BDS movement is alive in the United States and growing. It has aligned itself with the BLM movement, and they are far from anti-semitic. People who don’t understand what is going in Israel/Palestine automatically think if you criticize Israel that you hate Jews.

    • Lorina says:

      This! Great comment, thank you. Of course, I’m always a fan if someone cites Desmond Tutu.

      While I’m not sure about BDS not being anti-semitic – I agree with some commenters above that there was always anti-semitism in left leaning parties and movements – maybe not in all of them – I also have to say that I just don’t know enough about BDS (yet).

      Apart from possible solutions and movements:
      My father used to say the reason for the conflict not being resolved is too many people profit from it, or to be exact: too many people with power profit from it.
      So no matter what you do, they will block every move for a solution, you just don’t know who they really are.

      Anyway, thanks to Kaiser for giving us important topics to discuss – and thanks to all of you for your input, I always learn so much.

      • Lorina says:

        Err, I hope this didn’t come off as if I’d see Apartheid as a solution… God no. That is just carrying on the suffering, albeit probably even worse, because it is then institutionalized.

  13. ichsi says:

    I love how in every comment section on an article about the Israel/Palestine conflict, there’s suddenly a whole bunch of people who are experts on an issue that is complicated as complicated gets.

    • knotslaning says:

      Well some of us run organizations that focus on the conflict in Israel/Palestine, and have spent decades researching and theorizing possible solutions. The problem is more complicated than any of us know but what we do know is that thousands of Palestinians are suffering from the laws created by the Israeli government. BDS is a Palestinian led movement and has huge impacts on the economy in Israel, it is one of their only tools to fight oppression.

  14. Iga says:

    What is wrong with Israel? I live in Europe and I did not hear about some racists boycott that is apparently exist towards Israel.

    I really don’t understand that racist and hypocrite behavior towards Israel people. Like, if I’m not wrong – Palestinian people were blowing up buses in Israel, doing terrorist acts, killing civilians. And somehow they are victims and Israel is villain always? Like this is so so racists. When bombs are blowing up in Europe – no one is saying that isis terrorists are victims an Europe is to blame. Terrorists are to blame. Yet Palestinian terrorists are always victims when they blow up and kill people in Israel…

    I never understood that hypocrite attitude.

    • ria says:

      Thank you, i feel the same.

    • Rufus says:

      You should then read a bit more about how half a million Jewish colonizers live illegally on Palestinian land and how these Palestinians are denied of basic Human and political rights, not forgetting a military occupation that is forced on them. If someone comes to your family house, takes it away, makes you a refugee, burn your olive trees and treat you and your family for 50 years as a slave, you might consider a violent reaction at some point.
      No excuses for bombing buses and innocent people, but this has not been the case in the last 10 years or so, but rather a reinforced stealing of land and deprivation of Human rights, children being involved and targeted too, by the way.

      • Lorina says:

        Agreed, Rufus.

        Also, if you don’t understand it – always look to who has more power, and why, and what they did to get it and keep it. That should make things much clearer.

    • Valois says:

      You should read a bit more then, there’s a huge conversation going on about how certaim Western countries are partially Tao blame for a sociopolitical atmosphere that made it possible for isis to exist and recruit and therefore carry some blame.

  15. Iga says:

    The most hilarious thing is that Russia occupied 2 parts of Ukraine. Openly. They don’t even deny it. Whole world put suctions on Russia for it. Yet…. there is no BDS bull towards Russia. There is no boycott, no one is shaming american and european artists for going with concerts and movie promotions to Moscow.

    Hollywood stars openly visit Moscow to promote movie. Music stars go there and give concerts…. No one gives a crap. Despite the fact that Russia killed some 50 000 Ukrainians in 3 years, people in Crimea were forced to leave their home, many were put in jail. No one cares to boycott Russia.

    And then there is Israel. And hypocrites who shame artists for going there. This is pure racism, I’m sorry. Disgusting racism towards Israeli people.

    • Wilma says:

      I bloody hate the Russian government and it’s oligarchy of companies. Don’t get me started on that rant. I boycott Chinese and Turkish products (and many other countries products, in fact I buy little, local or produce it myself). Most people on here will criticize Russia, because wrong = wrong. You would know that if you came here often. This topic seems to bring a lot of new people around these parts.

    • Rufus says:

      One wrong doesn’t justify another wrong.
      The Israeli occupation is 50 years old and it continues with accelerated speed, with stealing Palestinian lands and depriving the Palestinian people from their rights.
      It is funny you mention Russia – indeed Israel’s stand in Human Rights is not higher than the Russian one. Only Russia doesn’t call itself a democracy and doesn’t play the victim all the time. After all, Netanyahu and Putin have been ruling their respective countries for almost 20 years.. indeed, many similarities exist between these countries and their admiration for “strong” political rulers and ruthless use of force…

      • ria says:

        Dear Rufus, the LGBT community of Russia would be quite happy if they have the human rights as in Israel.
        The LGBT people of muslim believe are quite happy to find refuge in “evil Israel “, yes even those poor victims Palestinians.

  16. Hannah says:

    I don’t agree either. Boycotts are so 20th century.

  17. Alba says:

    I disagree with the idea that boycott dont work. South Africa is an example of that.

  18. Trillion says:

    Maybe things would be clearer if we used terms like “Zionist” to differentiate from “Jew”.

    • Ashley says:

      What would be clearer by differentiating Zionist from Jew?

      Zionism = Jewish Statehood.

      You should be aware that the campaign to remove “Jewishness” from zionism is often led by individuals and groups that want to redefine zionism in a way that lets them express anti-semitic beliefs and actions without being called an anti-semitic.

      Zionism/Zionist and Judaism/Jew are both Jewish.

  19. wow says:

    So would Radiohead have played Sun City in the 80′s? Economic and sporting boycotts are pretty much the only way to end apartheid. If Thom Yorke has a better way to end it then maybe he can let us know.

  20. Ashley says:

    I think this article perfectly sums up the ignorance and ulterior motives of the BDS movement:

    “Targeting LGBT and Gay Pride Parade isn’t the key to Israel-Palestine peace.”

    “The main group opposing Tel Aviv Pride is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, who claim that Israel is simply “pinkwashing,” that Israel’s vocal support for the LGBT community, funding for LGBT events and promotion of LGBT tourism is only being used to cover up for human rights violations in occupied territories. They believe the promotion of inclusive equality for Israeli LGBT people is just a ruse, and have been successful in convincing others of this.

    A serious conversation needs to be had about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Some in the BDS movement advocating for a two-state solution have a worthy goal, but ultimately the movement’s methods are misguided and counterproductive….

    Boycotting Israeli LGBT events because of the government’s treatment of Palestinian people is petty, uninformed and a deflection itself from the core issue at hand: peace. Perhaps that’s just it though, the BDS movement doesn’t have a grasp on its own problem, so instead lashes out at vulnerable minority groups like LGBT people just to get attention for itself and its own interests.
    The path to peace is possible, and LGBT people have a unique opportunity to be leaders in this goal.”

    I believe that BDS is not about peace – I think that it’s an outlet for people to express hate in what would appear to be a socially acceptable manner. In what reality would a movement that targets and bullies artists and gays be a vehicle for championing human rights and peace?