Roger Waters is the front man and driving force behind the legendary rock group Pink Floyd. More importantly, he has become the most fearless artist supporting the Boycott Divestment Movement against apartheid israel. There have been other artists (Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder etc.) who have done the minimum—refused to play Israel as long as it persists in its manifold human rights abuses against Palestinians and its defiance of international law.
Waters is to become the Michael Moore of his generation. For pure courage, Moore with his social justice background stands as the Catholic prophet of the last 20 years. When silence reigned supreme in the imperial Bush years Moore confronted American hubris and war making.
Waters is made of the same stuff.
In a courageous interview with Israel’s Haaretz Waters laid it out. Some remarks were taken from the online journal Counterpunch
“The Jewish lobby is extraordinary powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry and in rock’n roll as they say, I’ve spoken to people who are terrified that if they stand shoulder to shoulder with me they are going to get f-cked. Musicians often use contemporary argot!
Speaking of much of the rabbinate Waters stated,” They believe that the Indigenous people of the region that they kicked off the land in 1948 and have continued to kick off the land ever since are subhuman.
The growth of the BDS movement should come as no surprise, “the parallels with what went on in the 30’s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.”
While not drawing a parallel with the Nazi regime, Waters likened Israel’s brutal discrimination against native Palestinians, its separate laws, infrastructures such as roads, electricity,its racism to similar trends in pre-war Germany.
“The occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable… I would not have played for the Vichy government in occupied France in WWII, would not have played in Berlin either during this time. Many people did, back in the day. There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinians being murdered.”
Why the silence then in the artistic community?
“Musicians do not touch the issue of Palestine, because of Israel’s propaganda machine on the American public opinion. Netanyahu’s bluster is poured all over the United States, not just Fox but also CNN and in fact in all the mainstream media. It’s like a huge bucket of crap that they are pouring into the mouth of a gullible public in my view, when they say “we are afraid of Iran, it is going to get nuclear weapons… It’s a diversionary tactic.”
“The fact of the matter is no Israeli government has been serious about creating a Palestinian state since 1948… They’ve always had the Ben Gurion agenda of kicking all the Arabs out of the country and becoming greater Israel.”
In August, Waters called on fellow musicians to join a boycott of Israel.
“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel.”