Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Is ‘Against’ Israel, Calls for Musician Boycott and Attacks ‘Illegal’ Wall

Posted on Mar 7th 2011 10:31AM by Jason MacNeil
Roger Waters has revealed to Al Jazeera that he’s written an op-ed piece encouraging fellow artists and musicians to join a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel. 

“I’m against Israel for exactly the same reasons that I was against South Africa: it’s a two-tiered racist system,” Waters told Al Jazeera’s Riz Khan in an interview last week which was later posted on YouTube. “They have pass books, they have to carry identity cards that say whether they’re a Jew or an Arab. It’s insane.”

Waters said he wrote the piece with the goal of placing it in either the New York Times or The Guardian.

“It’s me calling on my fellow musicians and artists to join the BDS campaign against Israel,” Waters said. “I’ve finally decided to put my head above the parapet. Enough is enough.

“They pay lip service to the idea that they want to make peace with the Palestinians and there’s lots of talk around the possibility of a two-state solution. But in the meantime they’re throwing people out of their homes in the Negev and East Jerusalem and they’re annexing huge parts of the West Bank. So all this talk about… they’re quietly getting on with taking over the whole of the land. And what happens then to the Palestinians?”

In the roughly 25-minute interview, which touches briefly on Waters ongoing world tour of Pink Floyd‘s classic album ‘The Wall,’ the singer also stated that if the Israeli government wants to build a protective wall around the country “they should build a wall along the 1967 border.”

Watch the Roger Waters Interview With Al Jazeera
“One might put one’s hands up and say, ‘How sad is that?’ But if that’s what they want to do, who are we to tell them they shouldn’t? But that’s not where they’re building the wall, they’re building the wall 900 kilometers all around the West Bank, and they are annexing the territory they occupied back in 1967. That is what the world community considers illegal and that is why there is a movement against it that is prepared to stand up and say, ‘No, this is wrong. This is illegal, immoral, oppressive and repressive.'”

Waters also stated there is a general movement of refusal taking place within in the country to show displeasure with the government policy, as he understands it after speaking with Israeli friends.

“They disapprove of their country’s foreign policies, but also many thousands of Israelis who believe that their government’s policies are repressive and racist and colonialist and imperialists and wrong, and are fighting against them,” he said.

“So any one of us from outside Israel who thinks that Israeli policy is wrong, we’re not anti-Semitic and we’re not against Israelis. In fact, we applaud those whose humanity transcends both their religion and nationalistic fervor that they might regress to. I think we’re all human, first, and that any movement towards a nationalistic and jingoistic attitude is a regression to something that is actually beneath us.”

In 2006, Waters moved a concert slated for Tel Aviv to the village of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam to show his displeasure. But Waters also closed the interview by stating that if the wall separating Palestinians and Israelis were torn down, he could definitely see himself — as he did in 1990 following the collapse of the Berlin Wall — performing there

Pink Floyd star lambastes Israel barrier

Before concert, Waters scrawls ‘tear down the wall’ on West Bank divider

updated 6/22/2006 9:11:37 PM ET

JERUSALEM — Veteran British rocker Roger Waters — co-creator of the legendary Pink Floyd album “The Wall” — performed before tens of thousands of Israeli fans on Thursday, while calling on Israel to tear down massive concrete blocks walling off parts of the West Bank.

An estimated 50,000 gathered in a hastily prepared outdoor venue for the concert next to the Jewish-Arab village of Neveh Shalom in central Israel.

Just before the end of the concert, Waters addressed his audience. “I believe we need this generation of Israelis to tear down the walls and make peace with their neighbors,” he said, setting off a round of cheers.

In the hours before the performance, cars were backed up for many miles in all directions in one of Israel’s biggest-ever traffic jams.

Waters, 62, refused to appear in the usual sites for outdoor concerts in Tel Aviv, citing his opposition to Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, agreeing in the end to the field about halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

‘Hard to comprehend’
On Wednesday, after arriving in Israel, Waters visited a section of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier running through the Palestinian town of Bethlehem and spray-painted a line from his famous album, reading “No thought control,” on the towering concrete blocks.

“It fills me with horror,” Waters told reporters at the site. “You can see photographs of something like this, but until you’ve seen the actual edifice itself and seen what it’s doing to these communities … It’s hard to comprehend that they could be doing this.”

Israel says it is building the wall to keep out Palestinian attackers. Suicide bombers have killed more than 500 Israelis and maimed many more since the September 2000 outbreak of fighting between the sides.

Palestinians denounce the obstacle as a front for grabbing territory they claim for a future state.

Israel says the half-finished, 470-mile barrier will be 95 percent electronic fence and only 5 percent wall when complete.

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