Defying Boycotters, Radiohead Plays Longest Concert in 11 Years Before 47,000 Israeli Fans

Radiohead, the popular rock band that was attacked by anti-Israel boycotters over their decision to perform in Israel, defied their critics and played their longest set in 11 years before a crowd of 47,000 in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The group’s outspoken lead singer, Thom Yorke, eviscerated critics including Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters for demanding that Radiohead cancel their concert in Israel, calling them “offensive” and “patronizing in the extreme” in an interview with Rolling Stone last month.

Despite high-profile efforts from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign to isolate Israel, Yorke said little about the controversy. Shortly before launching into the final song of the night—Karma Police from Radiohead’s classic OK Computer album—Yorke said, “A lot of stuff was said about this. But in the end, we played some music.”

When introducing the band’s first hit, Creep, Yorke recalled, “in 1993 we came here. Somewhere called the Roxan. Didn’t we Johnny?,” addressing guitarist Johnny Greenwood. While the song initially flopped in the United Kingdom, where the band was formed, it became a hit in Israel and helped launch the group into stardom.

“Those who call for boycott are only trying to divide us. They are trying to shut down the music,” Nasreen Qadri, an Israeli-Arab singer who was invited to perform alongside Radiohead, wrote ahead of the concert. “I will not be a part of that. Sadly, there are too many countries in the Middle East in which such a concert could have never taken place.”

A documentary titled “Wish You Weren’t Here” chronicling Waters’ discriminatory campaign against Israel is slated to be released later this summer.

In another blow to BDS, the legendary American rock band Guns N’ Roses finished their world tour in Tel Aviv last week.

Rod Stewart, Britney SpearsJustin Bieber, and Aerosmith all performed in Israel in recent months.

[Photo: tuberevenge / YouTube ]