Human rights activists calls on Radiohead to cancel Tel Aviv visit

The blue plaques explained

One of the 7 mock blue plaques placed by the activists, 22nd May 2017 — — — (Photo/ John Geoffrey Walker —

This Monday (22nd of May) human rights activists belonging to the Oxford branch of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) conducted a series of demonstrations in the central of Oxford. The demonstrators unveiled mock blue plaques with the inscription “Radiohead played here (I wish), don’t play in apartheid Israel 19th July 2017”. The sites of the mock blue plaques in central Oxford include Jericho Tavern, Browns Restaurant, Old Firestation Theater, New Theater, The Cellar, Exeter College and the O2 Academy in Oxford. The unveiling were live streamed onto Facebook where they were shared on social media by pages such as Jewish Voices for Peace and other human rights groups.

The activists called for the locally founded band Radiohead to cancel their visit to Tel Aviv in response to human rights abuses committed by Israel. Such abuses include: —Detaining children in jails, denying the right of Palestinians to return, near indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas, eviction of Palestinian families to build settlements and the racial abuse conducted by settlers against Palestinians and black immigrants to Israel.

The activists read a statement upon unveiling their plaques which can be read below:

It is my great pleasure to dedicate this blue plaque to Radiohead, oxford’s favourite band, famous the world over as a band with a conscience.
But, given this band’s reputation for speaking out against oppression, it is disappointing to find they have agreed to play in Israel in July 2017. Israel is a country which routinely flouts UN resolutions; a country which claims to be a democracy yet has over a thousand Palestinian political prisoners on hunger-strike in its jails right now, crying out for the most basic civil rights — rights that are taken for granted in democratic countries. a country that imprisons children.
By playing in Israel, Radiohead legitimizes an odious regime.
If you want to hold on to the respect you have earned over the years, Radiohead, you must cancel the gig in Tel Aviv in July 2017. oxford is watching you

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign activists also state were not protesting against Radiohead but rather calling on their good hearts and sense of justice to join the boycott of Israel, at least until such time that Israel ceases its oppression of Palestinians. Radiohead have been known to involve themselves in political activism before as seen by their support of Tibetan separatists against the Chinese government. Protesting against governments which have fallen out of favour with the USA and UK such as China, Russia, Syria, Libya, Cuba, N.Korea, Iran and Venezuela is highly fashionable and risk free in the western world so whether Radiohead are willing to risk their personal comfort in order to stand with human rights activists on a topic far closer to home is yet to be seen.

For photo albums of the event see these photographs by Mark Kerrison and John Geoffrey Walker (click on their names to access the photos).

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