Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead): “Silencing Israeli artists because they were born Jews in Israel is not the best way to end a conflict”

Jonny Greenwood, Radiohead guitarist, published a long open letter on social media defending the concert that recently gave in Israelwith local artist Dudu Tassa.

Greenwood, who also took part in a demonstration for the release of the hostages, and whose wife is Israeli, was criticized for acting in Israel at a time when the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against President Benjamin Netanyahu, accused of war crimes. The state of Israel’s war against Hamas has already killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, most of whom are children.

During the concert, Tassa stated that there were “musicians, not politicians” on stage. “Music has always done wonders. May we see better days and may everyone return safely,” she said were her wishes. Greenwood’s actions were promptly criticized by pro-Palestinian activists, who accuse him of artwashing: PACBI, a campaign that promotes an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, stated that, at the time of Greenwood’s concert, the Israeli army was bombing Palestinians in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip.

The musician defended himself, writing that “an artistic project that brings together Arabs and Jews is worth it†. “We are musicians from all over the Middle East, with mutual respect for everyone,†he said, pointing out that Tassa’s grandfather was an Iraqi Jew.

For Greenwood, silencing Israeli artists is not at all “progressive†. “Also because artists are, invariably, the most progressive members of any society,†he continued.

No work of art is as ‘important’ as stopping death and suffering around us. How could that be? But doing nothing is an even worse option,” he concluded. “Silencing Israeli artists because they were born Jews in Israel does not seem to me to be the best way to reach an agreement between the two parties of a seemingly endless conflict†.

With Smile, where he also plays Thom Yorke (partner in Radiohead), Greenwood returns to Portugal this summer for a concert at the Meo Kalorama festival, in Lisbon, on August 30th.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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