The moral sophistry of Roger Waters

Last week, the singer encouraged other performers to follow his lead in joining the BDS movement. But Waters and other far-left critics possess a reductionist moral view of the conflict, based primarily on knee-jerk reactions that favor the underdog.

March 14, 2011 16:21
4 minute read.
Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters.

roger waters_311 reuters. (photo credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)


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Last Friday, Roger Waters, the iconic former lead singer of the band Pink Floyd, wrote in The Guardian about his recent decision to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, mainly in an attempt to encourage other artists to do likewise. With this move, Waters has jumped on the growing bandwagon of celebrities - from Elvis Costello to the Pixies - who are refusing to come and perform in Israel.

Why are so many public figures ranting against “the Jews?”

While most artists who have canceled performances refuse to cite a reason, Waters was brave enough to actually express his stance on the matter. In his piece, Waters relays how he visited the separation barrier wall in 2006, and was treated by “young Israeli soldiers… with disdainful aggression.” To which he concluded, “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.”

Herein lies the moral sophistry that undergirds not only Waters’ view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but increasingly that of many far left-wing ideologues as well. For Water’s ilk, the crux of the issue is about standing up for the weak and oppressed - “the underclass.” In his world, culpability for the Palestinians’ situation lays squarely and solely with the government of Israel. The boycott is thus meant to push Israelis to force their government to make peace.


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