The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, and for good reason. While its proponents claim it is a form of peaceful protest, the movement is nothing more than age-old antisemitism in a modern form.
At the forefront of the BDS movement is Roger Waters, a musician and former member of Pink Floyd. He has been using his platform to spread hate and lies about Israel, and his efforts have only caused division and further polarization.
Waters has been trying to influence other artists not to perform in Israel, and has even called Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, pressuring him not to play in Israel. Yorke refused to cave in to Waters’s demands, stating that music should be a bridge between communities, not a tool for racism. And he’s right. Music has the power to bring people together, regardless of their backgrounds. It is a universal language that transcends borders and cultures, and it should not be used to promote hatred and division.
Roger Waters works to divide, Radiohead works to promote coexistence
In contrast to Waters’s efforts, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Israeli artist Dudu Tassa worked together to promote collaboration and coexistence, and to promote the music and sounds of the Middle East. This is the kind of partnership that should be celebrated and emulated. Instead of creating walls and division, these artists are building bridges and fostering understanding.
But the problem goes beyond Waters’ attempts to prevent artists from performing in Israel. His rhetoric is blatantly antisemitic. He uses lies and distortions to portray Israel as a racist and oppressive state, and he has even compared Israel to Nazi Germany.
This kind of language is not only false, but it is also incredibly dangerous. It feeds into the age-old stereotype of Jews as bloodthirsty oppressors and perpetuates a narrative of victimhood among Palestinians that ignores the role they play in their own suffering.
In an unexpected tweet last week, David Gilmour’s wife, author Polly Samson, called out Waters for his misogyny, antisemitism, and support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Gilmour, who was Waters’ bandmate in Pink Floyd, supported his wife’s claims, stating that every word was “demonstrably true.” It is time for the international community to denounce Waters and the BDS movement for what they truly are: antisemitic and divisive.
The promotion of peace and understanding is not advanced by boycotting Israel. Instead, we should be encouraging dialogue and engagement. We should be seeking to understand one another and work together to build a better future for all. The BDS movement only serves to further polarize an already divided region and fan the flames of hate.
The world needs more collaboration and coexistence initiatives like the one between Greenwood and Tassa. We need more opportunities to build bridges, not walls. We should be celebrating those who promote understanding, and rejecting those who promote hatred and division.
It is time for the international community to stand together against the BDS movement and against those like Waters who seek to use music as a tool for racism. Music has the power to unite us all, and we should use it.
The writer is a member of the Knesset, chairman of the Yesh Atid party faction, and coordinator of the opposition.