The Independent has just published an interview with him, in which he blames the relative lack of support among musicians for his BDSHoling on the threat of antisemitism accusations.
American musicians who support boycotting Israel over the issue of Palestinian rights are terrified to speak out for fear their careers will be destroyed, according to Roger Waters.
The Pink Floyd star – a prominent supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel since its inception 10 years ago – said the experience of seeing himself constantly labelled a Nazi and anti-Semite had scared people into silence.
“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic,” Waters told The Independent, in his first major UK interview about his commitment to Israeli activism. “I know this because I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years.
“My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel]. There’s me and Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Manic Street Preachers, one or two others, but there’s nobody in the United States where I live. I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s***less.
“If they say something in public they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed. I’m hoping to encourage some of them to stop being frightened and to stand up and be counted, because we need them. We need them desperately in this conversation in the same way we needed musicians to join protesters over Vietnam.”
And who would destroy their careers?
“We are asking questions that have never been asked until the last couple of years, which are bringing the wrath of the Israeli lobby down on people like me and all the others who dare to question and criticise.
“[The Israeli lobby] is determined not to let that conversation develop into one that people can listen to and that is why they accuse us of being Nazis.
Perhaps, Roger, therein lies part of the same problem. Accusing a powerful lobby of shutting people up sounds awfully familiar, especially to those who have read Mein Kampf. Using a word that starts with an “I” instead of one letter over does not really fool many of us.
But Roger cannot be antisemitic. His dad fought Nazis!
Waters expected to be shouted down by critics, but it is the Nazi accusations that he considers the most absurd, especially given that his father, Lt Eric Waters of the 8th Royal Fusilliers, died aged 31 fighting the Nazis at Anzio, Italy, in early 1944. His body was never found but his name is commemorated at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Monte Cassino.
“My father died fighting the Nazis, my mother [a strong CND and Labour supporter] devoted her life to doing everything she could to create a more humane world.
Waters rambles on about Israeli apartheid, which as I have posted about on many occasions, is an outright lie. He then compares it to the amazing thing that is palestinian society.
Waters likened Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid South Africa. “The way apartheid South Africa treated its black population, pretending they had some kind of autonomy, was a lie,” he said.
“Just as it is a lie now that there is any possibility under the current status quo of Palestinians achieving self-determination and achieving, at least, a rule of law where they can live and raise their children and start their own industries. This is an ancient, brilliant, artistic and very humane civilisation that is being destroyed in front of our eyes.”
Yes, he said that. About a society that brought us the airline hijacking, a society that incites murder against Jewish civilians, a society that names streets after terrorists, a society of modesty police, honor killings and the murder of “collaborators.”
Meanwhile, Israeli society in which Arabs have more rights than anywhere else in the Middle East, in which homosexuals are not persecuted, in which there is religious freedom for all – that is what attracts his ire.
Roger Waters is accused of being antisemitic because all signs point towards it. And his statements in this piece only serve to make this clearer to me.