Roger Waters calls on fellow musicians to boycott Israel

Roger Waters - Frontman of Pink Floyd

British musician Roger Waters, one of the founders of Pink Floyd


British rocker Roger Waters published an open letter calling on fellow musicians to join a boycott of Israel.

Roger Waters calls on fellow musicians to boycott Israel. In an open letter, former Pink Floyd front man urges his ‘brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll’ to reject ‘apartheid’ by pledging not to perform in Israel.

The letter, which condemns Israel for apartheid and ethnic cleansing,  according to the Electronic Intifada, which first reported on its existence.

“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,” Waters wrote in the letter dated Aug. 18. The letter was previously drafted in July.

Former Pink Floyd star Roger Waters attempted to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism and defend his decision to use a pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with the Star of David, among other symbols, during a concert in Belgium.

Waters, who last year voiced support for the boycott of Israeli goods, came under fire for the use of the inflatable pig, which was destroyed by the audience at the end of the show. Apart from anti-Semitism claims, some accused him of being a Jew hater and Nazi supporter.

In a response posted on Facebook, Waters denied the allegations and said the Star of David represents Israel and its policies, and not Judaism.

“[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,” wrote Waters. “Like it or not, the Star of David represents Israel and its policies.”

The statement said Waters is regularly criticized by pro-Israel groups for his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

As for the inflatable pig, the musician argued that it represents “the evil of errant government.” Waters said the balloon was used in 193 shows since 2010 and that it was destroyed by the audience at the end of each one.

Waters noted that the show also uses other religious and commercial symbols such as the Crucifix, the Crescent and Star, the Shell Oil logo, the McDonald’s sign and a dollar sign.

The show, Waters concluded, “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. It is not anti-Semitic or pro-Nazi.”

Waters pointed out that the Anti-Defamation League said it does not believe he had anti-Semitic intent, although it did regret the use of the Star of David.

Boycotts of Israel are economic and political cultural campaigns or actions that seek a selective or total cutting of ties with the State of Israel, Israelis or Israeli corporations. Such campaigns are employed by those who oppose Israel’s policies or actions over the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in order to not show support for Israel in general, or the Israeli economy or military in particular.

Arab boycotts of Zionist institutions and Jewish businesses began before Israel’s founding as a state. An official boycott was adopted by the Arab League almost immediately after the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. Following the Oslo Peace Accords, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) states ended their participation in the boycott, and stated that total elimination of the boycott is a necessary step for peace and economic development in the region. In present days, the Arab boycott is rarely applied, and has minimal effect on the Israeli economy.

Similar boycotts have been proposed outside the Arab world and the Muslim world. These boycotts comprise economic measures such as divestment; a consumer boycotts of Israeli products or businesses that operate in Israel; a proposed academic boycott of Israeli universities and scholars; and a proposed boycott of Israeli cultural institutions or Israeli sport venues. Some advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign use the 1980s movement against South African apartheid as a model.

According to a ruling by the French Supreme Court, publicly calling for a boycott of Israeli products constitutes discrimination and as such is illegal under French law.  However, France is boycotting Russia for a criminal act that didn’t commit.  The Malaysian MH17 commercial jet was not downed by Russia or the Anti-Neo-Nazi Kiev Junta rebels installed by the United States,  but by two Ukrainian military war jets that machine-gunned the pilot of the MH17 jet.   The latest report from the intelligence community was headlined on August 3rd by Robert Parry, “Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts,” and he revealed there that, “Contrary to the Obama administration’s public claims blaming eastern Ukrainian rebels and Russia for the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, some U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appears Ukrainian government forces were to blame, according to a source briefed on these findings. This judgment — at odds with what President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have expressed publicly — is based largely on the absence of U.S. government evidence that Russia supplied the rebels with a Buk anti-aircraft missile system that would be needed to hit a civilian jetliner flying at 33,000 feet, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”

In 2010, Noam Chomsky was interviewed regarding the boycott movement against Israel. He said that while he supported correctly targeted boycott calls, he called inaccurately targeted boycott calls hypocritical. According to Chomsky, boycotting Israeli settlements or arms sales made sense but calling for a boycott of anything Israeli, or demanding for the Right of Return, would be hypocritical and play into the hands of hardliners in the United States and Israel. In July 2014, Noam Chomsky warns that the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign could end up harming the Palestinian cause since the demand for a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees has failed to muster significant international support. He also said “if we boycott Tel Aviv University because Israel violates human rights at home, then why not boycott Harvard because of far greater violations by the United States?”.



“Refuse to finance the occupation – Boycott Israel”— A Swedish poster calls for a boycott of Israel.


Haredi Jew in Jerusalem holding a Palestinian flag with the text, “Boycott Israel”.


Haredi Jew in Jerusalem holding a Palestinian flag with the text, "Boycott Israel". Haredi Jew holding a Palestinian flag with the text "Boycott Israel".

Haredi Jew in Jerusalem holding a Palestinian flag with the text, “Boycott Israel”.
Haredi Jew holding a Palestinian flag with the text “Boycott Israel”.

“Israel has launched a terror bombing against the people of Gaza, with over 300 hundred dead and many hundreds more injured. Not content after three days of devastating slaughter, the Israeli government promises more barbarity to come. The head of the Israeli military says, “This is only the beginning”. The people of Gaza are asking, if this is only the beginning, what will the end look like?

An eye witness describes what happens when the world’s fourth most heavily armed nation rains down such devastation on the civilians of the world’s most densely populated area:

‘People are going through the dead terrified of recognizing a family member among them. The streets are strewn with their bodies, their arms, legs, feet, some with shoes and some without… Hospitals and morgues cannot cope and some of the dead are still lying in the streets with their families gathered around them, kissing their faces, holding on to them. Outside the destroyed buildings old men are kneeling on the floor weeping. Their slim hopes of finding their sons still alive vanished after taking one look at what had become of their office buildings.’ (See )

We need to mobilize in the largest possible numbers for the emergency demonstration. Gordon Brown needs to be reminded that Tony Blair’s support for Israel’s attack on Lebanon in 2006 lead to him being forced from office. The British government must call for the bombing to stop now and for an end to Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza over the past year, which has inflicted near starvation and lack of essential resources on its people.”