Zionists Try to Stop Roger Waters Gig in Long Island – ‘Anti-Semitism’ is the Pretext for attack on freedom of speech
Zionists Try to Stop Roger Waters Gig in Long Island – ‘Anti-Semitism’ is the Pretext for attack on freedom of speech
Pink Floyd Founder Roger Waters: BDS is One of “Most Admirable” Displays of Resistance in the World
Roger Waters, one of
the bulwarks of the legendary Pink Floyd is interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. His recollection of how he came to
support BDS is interesting. Just one
factual error or omission. Neve
Shalom/Wahat Salaam, a joint Jewish-Arab community where he played in Israel, is
on land owned by a Carmelite monastery. It
could not exist on Israeli ‘national’ i.e. Jewish land because 93% of Israeli land
is owned or controlled by the Jewish National Fund and is an integral part of Israel’s
apartheid nature. Neve Shalom could only be set up on private Christian owned
The attack on Roger Water’s gig is part of the overall attack on democratic freedoms in the West by the Zionists. They must be resisted but we should understand that this is a sign of their weakness. They need to try to ban the arguments that they can’t counteract.
they use that accusation as they do with anybody who supports BDS or anybody
who criticizes Israeli foreign policy or the occupation. That is their standard
go-to response, is to call you an anti-Semite, to start calling you names, and,
hopefully, to discredit you.
Today we spend the hour with the world-famous British musician Roger
Waters, founding member of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd. In recent years, he
has become one of the most prominent musicians supporting BDS, the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel over its treatment of
Palestinians. Waters is scheduled to play Friday and Saturday in Long Island,
despite attempts by Nassau County officials to shut down the concerts citing a
local anti-BDS bill. Despite this, Roger Waters has continued to speak out.
Last week, he wrote a piece in The New York Times titled “Congress
Shouldn’t Silence Human Rights Advocates.” In the op-ed, he criticized a
bill being considered in the Senate to silence supporters of BDS. Roger Waters
joined us in the studio on Wednesday.
Jewish Federation associates ‘hatred’ and anti-Semitism’ with opposition to Apartheid whilst doing nothing about the alt-Right and Israel’s support of American neo-Nazis
AMY GOODMAN: Today, we spend the hour with the world-famous
British musician Roger Waters, founding member of the iconic rock band Pink
Floyd. The band is perhaps most well known for their records The Wall
and Dark Side of the Moon. Roger Waters recently released his first new
studio album in 25 years and is touring stadiums across the country.
But the tour has not been without controversy. Waters is scheduled to
play on Friday and Saturday nights in Long Island, despite attempts by Nassau
County officials to shut down the concerts, which will take place at the
county-owned Nassau Coliseum. The reason? Water’s outspoken support for BDS,
the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel over its
treatment of Palestinians. Nassau County officials had claimed the concerts
would violate a local law which prohibits the county from doing business with
any company participating in the economic boycott of Israel.
Zionist groups and activists are pressing down on American liberties
Waters has also been met by protests on many other stops on the tour.
Ahead of his concert in Miami, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation took out a
full-page ad in the Miami Herald with the headline “Anti-Semitism
and Hatred Are Not Welcome in Miami.” The group also pressured the city of
Miami Beach to prevent a group of schoolchildren from appearing on stage with
Waters to sing during the concert.
Roger Water’s gig at Neve Shalom some years ago – 60,000 Israelis but no Palestinians as they couldn’t travel there
Despite all this, Roger Waters has continued to speak out. Last week, he
wrote a piece in The New York Times. The op-ed was
headlined “Congress Shouldn’t Silence Human Rights Advocates.” In the
op-ed, he criticized a bill being considered in the Senate to silence
supporters of BDS. Waters writes, quote, “By endorsing this McCarthyite
bill, senators would take away Americans’ First Amendment rights in order to
protect Israel from nonviolent pressure to end its 50-year-old occupation of
Palestinian territory and other abuses of Palestinian rights.”
Well, Democracy Now!‘s Nermeen Shaikh and I spoke to Roger Waters
on Wednesday. I began by asking him to respond to a recent statement by Howard
Kopel, a Nassau County legislator, who attempted to shut down Roger Waters’
upcoming concerts in Long Island. He called Waters a, quote, “virulent
anti-semite” and said, quote, “[E]mbrace the BDS movement and Nassau
will not do business with you. There is no room for hatred in Nassau.”
ROGER WATERS: Well, the first thing that leaps out of that
statement is the notion that I might be in some way anti-Semitic or against
Jewish people or against the Jewish religion or against anything that has
Jewishness attached to it, because I’m not. I’m clearly not. You know, they
comb through my past, and they find it very difficult to substantiate that
accusation. But they use that accusation as they do with anybody who supports BDS
or anybody who criticizes Israeli foreign policy or the occupation. That is
their standard go-to response, is to call you an anti-Semite, to start calling
you names, and, hopefully, to discredit you.
As far as Nassau Coliseum is concerned, and the specific thing there, I
was hoping that the state’s attorney, I guess—I’ve forgotten his name for the moment—was
was going to try and take the case to court, and was going to actually litigate
with the management of Nassau Coliseum on the grounds that they were breaking
some law, because it would have given us a chance to have our day in court and
for what I consider to be the side of reason and dialogue and decency and the
law and the Constitution and freedom and rights and being grown up about
things. I think they—eventually, they’ve looked at it and thought it was too
dangerous, because if they had gone to court with us, I think there’s no
question but that we would have won the case. And it would have provided a
precedent to stop legislatures around the rest of the United States from
bringing frivolous cases in similar circumstances.
So, guys, I don’t know where you are, but I’m really sorry that you
didn’t bring this out into the open, because it bears discussion that they’re
attempting to take away the First Amendment rights of American citizens and
AMY GOODMAN: But you are playing Friday and Saturday night at
ROGER WATERS: Yeah, we are. And I really look forward to it. And
we will be playing, you know, to great audiences, who will completely
understand, as well, that there is no hatred in my show. I mean, I’m somewhat
critical of the current administration in a satirical and playful way, I like
to think. But my show is all about the idea that if this—if this race, the
human race, is to survive even the next 50 or 100 years, we need to start
looking at the possibility of the transcendental nature of love, and we have to
start looking after one another and recognizing our responsibility to others,
which is what BDS is about, really.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Roger Waters, you wrote recently this op-ed piece for The New York Times
headlined “Congress Shouldn’t Silence Human Rights Advocates,” and
this is about the proposed bill, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. So could you
explain what the act calls for and what your own experience has been with it?
ROGER WATERS: Well, yeah. As I read it—I haven’t read the
complete draft, but—and I know it sounds ludicrous, but it’s true. There is a
bill before Congress, S 720, which seeks to criminalize support for Boycott,
Divestments and Sanctions, which is a nonviolent international protest movement
to protest the occupation of Palestinian land that’s been going on for 50
years. And they want to make it a felony to support BDS, as far as I understand
it, with criminal penalties that are, in my view, absurd. Somebody like me, for
instance, if the bill was passed in its current drafting, would be subject to a
fine of between $250,000 and $1 million and a term of imprisonment of up to 20
years—for peaceful, nonviolent political protest on behalf of basic human
rights for beleaguered people, which is absurd, clearly. When you put it like
that, you think, “Well, that’s ridiculous.” Why would Congress—why
would Congress even be using any of the precious time in the legislature to
even discuss such a thing, contravening as it does the First Amendment to the
Constitution, which is one of the basic rights that American citizens have,
freedom of speech, to say what they believe.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, explain your own involvement with BDS. How
did you come to learn of it and then to support it in the way that you have?
ROGER WATERS: Well, many years ago, in 2006, in fact, I was
doing a tour, and I was asked to play in Israel, to do a gig in Tel Aviv. And
I’ll try and tell this very quickly. And I started getting—and I agreed to do a
gig in Tel Aviv. And I immediately started getting emails from people saying,
“Are you sure you want to do this?” And then I was told about BDS,
which was started by Palestinian civil society in 2005. And I engaged in a
dialogue—that famous word—with these people and with Palestinians, and they
convinced me that I should cancel the gig that we were going to play in Tel
But as a kind of an act of compromise, I moved the gig to a place called
Neve Shalom, or Wahat as-Salam, I think it is, in Arabic, which is an
agricultural community where many different religions—Christians, Jews,
Muslims, Druze—all live together. Their children all go to school together.
And, you know, so it’s an—they grow chickpeas for a living. And so we did the
gig there, outdoors. And it was a huge success. Sixty thousand Israelis came.
No Palestinians, of course, because they are not allowed to travel, but—which
is kind of the start of my story. At the end of that gig, I stood up, and
they’d been hugely enthusiastic, the audience. And I said, “You are the
generation of young Israelis who have the responsibility to make peace with
your neighbors and to figure out this terrible mess that your country has got
itself into.” And there was complete silence. It was like—I saw the 60,000
kids all looking at me, going, “What is he talking about? This is not in
the script.” So, anyway, I went back the next year, at the invitation of UNRWA.
AMY GOODMAN: The United Nations agency?
ROGER WATERS: Yes, exactly. And a lovely woman called Allegra
Pacheco, who—and we went all over the West Bank. We didn’t go to Gaza,
unfortunately, but we went everywhere else that we could think of in the West
Bank. And I was flabbergasted. I mean, I had never been—I had never been
into—I’d never seen that kind of repression in action—you know, the roads that
the Palestinians aren’t allowed to drive on. And they start showing me the development
of the settlements. This is 10 years ago now, 11 years ago now. And so—and I
went and talked to people in the refugee camps. And I determined, when I left
there, that I would do everything that I could, until there was some kind of
justice for the people who live there, to help them, which is why we’re here
today. So, and the fight goes on. But I’m happy to say that it’s a fight that
is being won by BDS. This is why there are people beginning to picket my gigs.
They haven’t done for the last 10 or 11 years, but now they are, because
they’re beginning to panic, I think.
AMY GOODMAN: Roger Waters, founding member of the iconic rock
band Pink Floyd. We’ll be back with him in a minute and look at the documentary
he narrates, The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations
War in the United States.
AMY GOODMAN: Roger Waters singing “Pigs,” live at the
Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, earlier this week.