Contestants Miss Iraq, Sarah Eedan (R) and Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman (L) pose together for a selfie, during preparations for the Miss Universe 2017 beauty pageant in Las Vegas, United States November 13, 2017.
(photo credit: SARAH IDAN/SOCIAL MEDIA/VIA REUTERS)
Ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has been one of Israel's strongest critics. Now, less than a week before the Eurovision song contest is meant to take place in Tel Aviv, he has vamped up his anti-Israel efforts, calling on the world to boycott the Eurovision contest this year.
Former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, took to Twitter to speak out against Waters's recent rhetoric, condemning his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“An artist has power to inspire," wrote Idan. "Make sure you use your power for good and to bring people together. I never understood artists who boycott an entire country, you’re singing for people not for governments.”
Waters took to social media on Thursday afternoon to express his pride in a Swiss petition that demanded Eurovision "pull out of the finals in Tel Aviv," during which he compared Israelis to aliens, although "it's giving aliens a bad name."
Waters spoke of a conversation he had with BDS founder Omar Barghouti, who told him about the petition, which was signed by 136,000 Swiss people.
Two years ago, Idan's family left Iraq due to threats to their lives, some allegedly from Hamas, over her modeling in a bikini and posting photos taken with Miss Israel on social media.
Idan now lives in the United States and the rest of her family has fled the country, Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, told Channel 13 news. Gandelsman said she has been in touch with Idan since the pageant and that the two women have a special relationship.
“She did it to so that people can understand that it’s possible to live together,” Gandelsman said. “In order for people to see that we can connect, in the end we are both human beings.”
Idan has not removed the photo from her Instagram account and has defended the photo in a post written in Arabic on Instagram.
“I want to stress that the purpose of the picture was only to express hope and desire for peace between the two countries,” she wrote in her post. She said the photo does not signal support for the Israeli government and apologized if the photo was harmful to the Palestinian cause.
Waters has been vocal about his anti-Israel stances, having told Madonna not to come to Israel when it was announced that she would be making an appearance at Eurovision. "If you believe in human rights... don't play in Tel Aviv," he published in a statement directed at Madonna.
Last December, Waters responded to a Jerusalem Post
article reporting that the UK Pink Floyd Experience will be performing in Israel, despite having previously canceled.
"I'm sorry you buckled boys, I could, and would, have helped you resist had you asked," Waters wrote on his Facebook page. He further explained that Israeli media is "trying to paint [him] as a wicked bully rather than a concerned human rights activist."JTA and Tamar Beeri contributed to this report.
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