The Impeccable Timing of Roger Waters

Washed-up Pink Floyd founding member and singer-songwriter Roger Waters had this to say on Friday:

In 1980, a song I wrote, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, was banned by the government of South Africa because it was being used by black South African children to advocate their right to equal education. That apartheid government imposed a cultural blockade, so to speak, on certain songs, including mine.

Twenty-five years later, in 2005, Palestinian children participating in a West Bank festival used the song to protest against Israel’s wall around the West Bank. They sang: “We don’t need no occupation! We don’t need no racist wall!” At the time, I hadn’t seen firsthand what they were singing about.

A year later I was contracted to perform in Tel Aviv. Palestinians from a movement advocating an academic and cultural boycott of Israel urged me to reconsider. I had already spoken out against the wall, but I was unsure whether a cultural boycott was the right way to go.

The Palestinian advocates of a boycott asked that I visit the occupied Palestinian territory to see the wall for myself before I made up my mind. I agreed.

Under the protection of the United Nations I visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day. The wall is an appalling edifice to behold. It is policed by young Israeli soldiers who treated me, a casual observer from another world, with disdainful aggression.

If it could be like that for me, a foreigner, a visitor, imagine what it must be like for the Palestinians, for the underclass, for the passbook carriers. I knew then that my conscience would not allow me to walk away from that wall, from the fate of the Palestinians I met: people whose lives are crushed daily by Israel’s occupation. In solidarity, and somewhat impotently, I wrote on their wall that day: “We don’t need no thought control.”

Realising at that point that my presence on a Tel Aviv stage would inadvertently legitimise the oppression I had seen, I cancelled my gig at the stadium in Tel Aviv and moved it to Neve Shalom, an agricultural community devoted to growing chick peas and also, admirably, to co-operation between different faiths, where Muslim, Christian and Jew work side by side in harmony.

Against all expectations it was to become the biggest music event in the short history of Israel. Some 60,000 fans battled traffic jams to attend. It was extraordinarily moving for us, and at the end of the gig I was moved to exhort the young people gathered there to demand of their government that they attempt to make peace with their neighbours and respect the civil rights of Palestinians living in Israel.

Sadly, in the intervening years the Israeli government has made no attempt to implement legislation that would grant rights to Israeli Arabs equal to those enjoyed by Israeli Jews, and the wall has grown, inexorably, illegally annexing more and more of the West Bank.

For the people of Gaza, locked in a virtual prison behind the wall of Israel’s illegal blockade, it means another set of injustices. It means that children go to sleep hungry, many chronically malnourished. It means that fathers and mothers, unable to work in a decimated economy, have no means to support their families. It means that university students with scholarships to study abroad must watch the opportunity of a lifetime slip away because they are not allowed to travel.

In my view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair-minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.

Where governments refuse to act people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government’s policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.

My conviction is born in the idea that all people deserve basic human rights. This is not an attack on the people of Israel. This is, however, a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott.

Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa’s Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.

Roger Waters had this to say after the terror attack which occurred not long after his piece was published – the kind of terror attack we would see more of if the fence did not exist:

……..

Roger Waters, as this Ynet writer opines, you are at best a “useful idiot” and at worst an antisemite.

I’m really inclined to go with option 2 at this stage.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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Anti-Israel Celebrities | Israellycool
08 May 2013 at 1:05pm
[...] Roger Waters ...

Facebook Comments

  • Keiko

    What a pathetic old hippy. Slightly off-topic: I'm glad he mentioned Neve Shalom in this piece. I'll be SURE TO AVOID this place when I'm spending my summer in Israel volunteering on moshavim. BTW, I have heard about these "communities" of "Jews, Muslims, and Christians working side by side". They are ALL Leftists who have nothing but disdain for the Israeli government. They just get together and b*tch about the Israel and western right-wingers.

    If anyone knows of some moshavim where Jews work side by side with other Jews and who would welcome a nice, pro-Israel Catholic girl to work with them for free, let me know!! I am still putting my trip together and researching locations.

    • Tzvi

      There is a terrific program for voluteers in Israel. http://www.sar-el.org/

      I took part several years ago. The food was miserable, the working conditions greasy (preparing tank engines for maintenance), the sleeping quarters horrible. Had a terrific time and would repeat if not for some health problems.

      By the way, the original tendency of Israel was a bit to the left, kibutzim, state enterprises, and so on. But, and a big but, when time came to change, change they did, smoothly.

      Have a time, and post your adventures on line. Ask Aussie Dave if you could use his space. Offer a Fosters. That alway works with an Aussie.
      Tzvi

      • Keiko

        Sar-El sends volunteers to work with IDF. I'm looking for agriculture.

  • Jim from Iowa

    I read the same article on Ynetnews. Quite thought-provoking and entertaining, though surely there must be categories other than "Useful Idiot" and "Anti-semite" that Mr. Wohl could place us lefties. The Middle East and the world are just too complicated for only two.

    • Shy Guy

      Try "stuck on stupid".

    • walt kovacs

      jim,

      you really consider yourself a leftist?

      quick test

      do you consider that cast lead is comparable to what happened on friday night?

      • Jim from Iowa

        I prefer the term "leftie." It sounds much less harsh than "leftist." And you'll have to ask much easier questions if you expect an answer out of me. Was Cast Lead the incursion into Lebanon a few years ago or was that in Gaza? There've been too many military operations for me to keep track of. I wish AussieDave would put out trading cards for each event.

  • walt kovacs

    keiko…there are tons of kibbutizim and moshavim that welcome volunteers of all faiths

    i think its kinda silly to work for a private enterprise for free…but more power to you

    it might be better for your to volunteer to work with at risk youth….those kids really need help

    • Keiko

      Are you referring to at-risk kids in Israel?

  • walt kovacs

    "under the protection of the united nations"

    there are no un forces in israel…what is he talking about?

    i dont know if he hates jews or not….i do know that he is a washed up musician and lost his voice years ago

    but…i really think he needs to do a concert in gaza…hamas will love him

    • juvanya

      He is lying?

  • Dan

    The problem with celebrity is that the celebrities keep on deluding themselves long after the fans have seen past the glitter and moved on.A friend of mine quoted from an unknown source about celebrities-"Celebrities are really important people-really important-but nowhere near as important as they think of themselves to be"-here's wishing that Water's next joint proves to be his last!

    • Jim from Iowa

      Winning!

  • Ian

    Waters stated in an interview that he gets all of his “information” from the BBC and Al Jazeera, so he will have no idea any attack happened.
    He’s a washed up hack, who hasn’t written a good song in 30 years and tours as an overrated Pink Floyd cover band. His interviews are more like seances with his dead father. Is there anything more pathetic than a 67 year old boy with daddy issues?

  • josé

    nobody is going to say that another brick on the wall is one of the most annoying and overrated songs in the history of rock?

  • josé

    there must be more cathegories, but useful idiot and antisemite fits very well

  • faboutlaws

    Equality, now in South Africa? He's nuts. At best the situation has been reversed and it will get worse. SA will be another failed state. Waters is lucky he wasn't born a fish because he's taken the Arab bait hook, line and sinker.

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