Israeli Arab Singer Slams BDS Activists Calling on Radiohead to Cancel Tel Aviv Show

'Those who call for boycott are only trying to divide us,' Nasreen Qadri writes in Newsweek op-ed

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Nasreen Qadri.
Nasreen Qadri.Credit: Emil Salman

Nasreen Qadri, an Israeli Arab singer who will perform alongside Radiohead in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, spoke out against calls by BDS activists for the band to cancel their concert in Israel on Tuesday. 

>> Read more: The Israeli Arab singer who's more than a symbol >>

BDS activists have been putting a growing amount of pressure on Radiohead, who has performed in Israel a number of times in the past but has never faced such a stubborn front by the boycott movement.

In an op-ed in Newsweek, Qadri described the efforts to "boycott the only democracy in the Middle East" as "counter-productive" and detrimental to those hoping to push for peace and tolerance.

"Those who call for boycott are only trying to divide us. They are trying to shut down the music. 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," she lamented.

Qadri, who is Muslim, wrote that she will perform alongside Dudu Tassa, a Jewish Israeli singer, during the concert on Wednesday "to bring a message of co-existence to every corner of the country."

"I was lucky to be born in Israel, and I am grateful for the opportunity to build bridges of understanding," Qadri wrote.

The singer is not the first artist to express support for Radiohead's Israel show. Michael Stipe, the front man of rock band R.E.M., wrote in a post on Instagram: "I stand with Radiohead and their decision to perform. Let's hope a dialogue continues, helping to bring the occupation to an end and lead to a peaceful solution."

British director Ken Loach, Dave Randall, former guitarist for the band Faithless and former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters are among those calling on Radiohead to cancel the concert.

Thom Yorke, Radiohead's front man, made headlines last week when he rejected Loach's call on him not to appear in Israel. 

“Playing in a country is not the same as endorsing its government .... We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America," Yorke tweeted after Loach wrote a scathing piece in the British daily The Independent.

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