Jonny Greenwood, guitarist of the renowned band Radiohead and an acclaimed film composer (known for works such as "There Will Be Blood," "Phantom Thread," "The Power of the Dog," and "Spencer"), performed in Israel on May 26 as part of his joint project "Jarak Qaribak" with Israeli musician Dudu Tassa. Following this, he faced criticism from anti-Israel activists in Europe and the US, particularly from the BDS movement, which calls for a cultural boycott of Israel by Western artists and institutions.

Greenwood responded to the criticism by posting a statement on his social media page. "I have been collaborating with Dudu and releasing music with him since 2008. I think an artistic project that combines Arab and Jewish musicians is worthwhile. And one that reminds everyone that the Jewish cultural roots in countries like Iraq and Yemen go back for thousands of years is also important," Greenwood said in the statement.

In the "Jarak Qaribak" album, Tassa, Greenwood, and musicians from Arab countries revive the Middle Eastern musical tradition, including works by Dudu Tassa's ancestors, notable Israeli musicians of Iraqi-Iranian ancestry who wrote songs in Arabic.

"Some believe that this project is unjustifiable and are urging the silencing of this - or any - artistic effort made by Israeli Jews. However, I can't join this call: the silencing of Israeli filmmakers/musicians/dancers when their work tours abroad - especially when it's at the urging of their fellow Western filmmakers/musicians/artists - feels unprogressive to me. Not least because it's these people that are invariably the most progressive members of any society. I am grateful to be working with the remarkable musicians I've met during this project, all of whom strike me as much braver - and taking far more of a principled risks - than those trying who are trying to shut us down."

"You are welcome to disagree with, or ignore, what we do - but I hope you now understand what the true motivation is, and can react to the music without suspicion and hate," Greenwood said.

The musician also emphasized that the concert he and Dudu Tassa gave in Jaffa was not a one-off event. This summer, the "Jarak Qaribak" project will perform at festivals in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Spain.