Israel/Palestine,  Music

Roger Waters responds

Rogers Waters has posted on Facebook a response to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who accused Waters of being an “open hater of Jews” for featuring a giant pig balloon with a Star of David on the side at a recent performance in Belgium.

Waters, of course, is indignant. He writes:

I should point out that in the show, I also use the Crucifix, the Crescent and Star, the Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil Logo and The McDonald’s Sign, a Dollar Sign and a Mercedes sign.

That may be so, but the question is: how did he use the Crucifix and the Crescent and Star? If they also appeared on the pig, they aren’t immediately visible in the video from the Belgium show.

After the obligatory “Some of my best friends and relatives…” bit, Waters goes on to express his special disdain for the world’s only Jewish-majority state, home of almost half the world’s Jews.

[I]n a functioning theocracy it is almost inevitable that the symbol of the religion becomes confused with the symbol of the state, in this case the State of Israel, a state that operates Apartheid both within its own borders and also in the territories it has occupied and colonized since 1967.

Like it or not, the Star of David represents Israel and its policies and is legitimately subject to any and all forms of non violent protest. To peacefully protest against Israel’s racist domestic and foreign policies is NOT ANTI-SEMITIC.

…[T]he pig in question represents evil, and more specifically the evil of errant government. We make a gift of this symbol of repression to the audience at the end of every show and the people always do the right thing. They destroy it.

Waters may not be an old-fashioned Jew-hater, and Cooper probably went too far in describing him as such; but I think the burden is on Waters to explain why, of all the countries in the world, he reserves so much contempt for Israel.

For instance I see Waters is performing this evening in Istanbul. If he’s going to advocate a boycott of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, why not Turkey for its treatment of the Kurds?

Waters writes:

The Wall Show, so lamely attacked by you, is many things. It is thoughtful, life affirming, ecumenical, humane, loving, anti war, anti colonial, pro universal access to the law, pro liberty, pro collaboration, pro dialogue, pro peace, anti authoritarian, anti fascist, anti apartheid, anti dogma, international in spirit, musical and satirical.

If he may say so himself.