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Radiohead Promotional Banner. (Credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Together with my family on June 16th, I attended one of the best live shows I have ever seen: Radiohead played in a park in Monza, Italy, in front of more than 50 000 people. We accidentally bought fan pit tickets and got to be only 20 meters away from the stage. Even the opening acts left me with unforgettable, and amusing memories: a 50-something white guy wearing a baseball hat danced a little too enthusiastically to Michael Kiwanuka’s “Black Man in White World” while James Blake messed up one of his songs and joked about not knowing his own music. And then, as the sun began to set, Radiohead’s two-hour long concert opened spectacularly with a light show and the song “Daydreaming”, which was  written for Thom Yorke’s late wife. I will forever remember the guy with the purple bandana next to us who seemed to be Radiohead’s biggest fan, jumping with such enthusiasm to every jumpable song — from “Idioteque” to “Myxomatosis” to “Ful Stop”. I couldn’t help but find the middle-aged couple in front of me adorable as they kissed every time Thom Yorke sang “You’re all I need” in the song “All I Need”. I even enjoyed the concert when my brother, I, two guys in the back and the guy with the bandana asked for “Let Down” to be played but didn’t get our wish; the irony is not lost on me, and somehow the other 25 songs they played more than made up for it.  

About a month and a half later, as much as I loved the concert and kept looking back at the awkwardly cute family selfie we took, I couldn’t stop thinking about the ongoing controversy over  one of the concerts in the band’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” tour: on July 19th, Radiohead performed in Tel Aviv, Israel.  

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Photo: Irina Stelea

On Monday, the 4th of June 2012, both ECLA of Bard’s Politics Club and students from the Democracy seminar had the pleasure of hosting Professor Ran Halévi (EHESS, Paris) for a talk on Israeli Democracy and the Politics of War.

Twelve students and three members of staff gathered with him for a discussion that centred around his main claim, namely that Israel has always been at war, yet has been at the same time a democracy.According to Halévi, these two notions had been, “associated at Israel’s cradle,” already.

Back in the 1920s, (decades before the sovereign state of Israel was established in 1948) there had already been a clandestine army that subordinated itself to political purposes, and up until today, there have been no rebellions by this military.

Halévi, who is not only a teacher of political history, but also a writer, editor and columnist in Paris, then proceeded to briefly introduce us to the past 65 years of Israeli history and to how internal public opinion on its political doings shifted in the early 1980s.

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