Pink Floyd frontman declares support for BDS campaign

In AIC statement, Roger Waters recalls visit to "appalling" security barrier, expresses support for "Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance."

roger waters_311 reuters (photo credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)
roger waters_311 reuters
(photo credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)
Pink Floyd’s former lead singer and bassist Roger Waters on Sunday declared his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel, in a statement published on the website of the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian- Israeli NGO.
“Where governments refuse to act, people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal,” Waters, 67, wrote. “For some that meant joining the Gaza Freedom March, for others it meant joining the humanitarian flotilla that tried to bring much needed humanitarian aid to Gaza. For me it means declaring my intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine, but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their governments racist and colonial policies, by joining a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.”
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Waters said his position was not anti-Semitic and was not on attack on Israelis, but rather a “plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott.”
The Pink Floyd frontman’s decision to support a boycott goes back to a 2006 visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem during which he saw the West Bank security barrier.
“Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day. The Wall is an appalling edifice to behold. It is policed by young Israeli soldiers who treated me, a casual observer from another world, with disdainful aggression. 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. I knew then that my conscience would not allow me to walk away from that Wall, from the fate of the Palestinians I met, people whose lives are crushed daily in a multitude of ways by Israel’s occupation,” Waters wrote in the Alternative Information Center statement.
During his visit four-anda- half years ago, Waters moved a concert scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv to Neveh Shalom, a town where Jews and Arabs live side by side.
“Against all expectations, it was to become the biggest music event in the short history of Israel. Sixty-thousand fans battled traffic jams to attend. It was extraordinarily moving for me and my band, and at the end of the gig I was moved to exhort the young people gathered there to demand of their government that they attempt to make peace with their neighbors and respect the civil rights of Palestinians living in Israel,” he wrote.
After years of what Waters says was failure by the government to “grant civil rights to Israeli Arabs equal to those enjoyed by Israeli Jews,” and the extension of the security barrier “illegally annexing more and more of the West Bank,” the musician decided to support “Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.”
Last month, American folk music legend Pete Seeger, 91, also joined the boycott campaign, saying that he regretted previously giving his support to a Jewish National Fund-sponsored event.
According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Seeger “read historical and current material and spoke to neighbors, friends and three rabbis before making his decision to support the boycott movement against Israel.”
Other musicians such as Elvis Costello and The Pixies have canceled concerts in Israel as well, citing political reasons.