Roger Waters Responds to Thom Yorke’s Rejection of Israel Boycott: ‘Not to Talk is Not an Option’
Last week, Thom Yorke said that he took exception to an open letter signed by Roger Waters and many others urging Radiohead to cancel its July concert in Tel Aviv, Israel because it was done in public. Now, Waters has responded by saying he only brought it out into the open because his attempts to engage Yorke privately were more or less ignored.
Waters issued a statement to Rolling Stone where he said he was compelled to respond after having read Yorke's side in the same publication. "On February 12th, hoping to start a dialogue," he wrote. "I sent an email expressing my concern about Radiohead crossing the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] 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."
After apologizing for the unintentional tone, Waters again asked for an opportunity to explain his position. Yorke's lack of a response prompted a follow-up from Waters on March 4, which also went unanswered.
"I have made every effort to engage with you personally, and would still like to have the conversation," Waters continued. "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."
He closed it by saying "Restiamo umani," an Italian phrase which translates to "Stay human." It was the title of a book by Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian activist and reporter who was covering the war in the Gaza Strip. He was kidnaped and murdered in 2011.
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