Many celebrities – people arguably out of touch with the average person’s reality – have championed the left and pushed their more conservative colleagues to follow suit for years. Radiohead – one of the most innovative rock bands in the world – is feeling the pressure. Several leftist celebrities have urged the band to cancel the upcoming concert in the Jewish state. These include Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, actress Julie Christie, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. These famous artists say that Radiohead would be performing in a country where “a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people.” Heat Street reports:
In a letter to the Radiohead released by the campaign group Artists for Palestine, Radiohead are taken to task for campaigning for freedom for Tibet and playing at a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but yet they “ignore a call to stand against the denial of those rights when it comes to the Palestinians”.
In 2015, a group of artists who call themselves “Artists for Palestine” decided to start a cultural boycott aimed at other artists who perform in Israel. The anti-Israel cabal includes some big names like The Pixies, Brian Eno, and Stevie Wonder. It is evident that these people know nothing about the Israel/Palestinian conflict; they merely adopt the same anti-Israel rhetoric that the left has been promoting for years.
These darlings of the left are guilty of selective outrage. The same people who pressure Radiohead to cancel the concert in Israel have no problem with artists who perform in countries that are plainly responsible for human rights abuses. In February, Paul McCartney played a concert in Saudi Arabia – where women are not allowed to be uncovered, drive a car, or open a bank account. Guns N’ Roses performed in Dubai – where the government tortures and kidnaps people who are critical of the authorities. The musician Sia gave a show in Russia, a country whose regime routinely cracks down on free speech and brutally murders citizens who dare to oppose President Vladimir Putin.
The left deliberately distorts the true nature of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians by portraying Israel as the ruthless oppressor while giving a free pass to the Islamic terrorists. In reality, Israel is the only one working for a peaceful solution, while groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have rejected every overture.
This move by the left is indicative of their tendency to force others to embrace their beliefs. Rather than convincing people that their way is correct, they use pressure tactics to force their opponents into acquiescence. Hopefully, Radiohead will resist the left’s efforts at coercion. Either way, it serves as a lesson to people who value liberty: we cannot afford to let other people dictate our actions and beliefs.