Roger Waters: Pink Floyd star on why his fellow musicians are terrified to speak out against Israel

Roger Waters: Pink Floyd star on why his fellow musicians are terrified to speak out against Israel 

American musicians who support boycotting Israel over the issue of Palestinian rights are terrified to speak out for fear their careers will be destroyed, according to Roger Waters.

The Pink Floyd star – a prominent supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel since its inception 10 years ago – said the experience of seeing himself constantly labelled a Nazi and anti-Semite had scared people into silence.

“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic,” Waters told The Independent, in his first major UK interview about his commitment to Israeli activism. “I know this because I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years.

“My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel]. There’s me and Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Manic Street Preachers, one or two others, but there’s nobody in the United States where I live. I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s***less.

“If they say something in public they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed. I’m hoping to encourage some of them to stop being frightened and to stand up and be counted, because we need them. We need them desperately in this conversation in the same way we needed musicians to join protesters over Vietnam.”

Waters likened Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid South Africa. “The way apartheid South Africa treated its black population, pretending they had some kind of autonomy, was a lie,” he said.

“Just as it is a lie now that there is any possibility under the current status quo of Palestinians achieving self-determination and achieving, at least, a rule of law where they can live and raise their children and start their own industries. This is an ancient, brilliant, artistic and very humane civilisation that is being destroyed in front of our eyes.”

A trip to Israel in 2006, where Waters had planned to play a gig in Tel Aviv and the end of the European leg of his Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, transformed his view of the Middle East……

Read on:-

alexandra-again  asked:

Hi, I've been wondering about BDS. A number of people have blogged about "BDS-safe" makeup, avoiding companies that deal with Israel, even though the official website says that boycotting every company that does so isn't worth it, only some. And I know your criticisms of BDS, such as the boycott of Israelis themselves, who could often only be safe in Israel. What about comparisons to apartheid South Africa, re: boycotts? Or the idea that Israel now= other settler states in say the 19th century?

My big problem with the comparisons with South Africa as far as BDS is concerned is that while there are similarities in effect, the causes are very different. 

There was no pressing reason for Europeans to be in South Africa. For the most part, they went to the country to exploit it for profit and for empire. 

Israel is largely a refugee state. Most of its population is Jews who fled from anti-semitism in some form (the Holocaust, MENA expulsions, state anti-semitism in the Soviet Union and Ethiopia, etc.) They didn’t come to improve a privileged standing. They came to live with their own people where no government would enact such atrocities against them. 

Now, you can point out that the Palestinians weren’t responsible for the Holocaust or the MENA expulsions or anything that happened outside of the region and you’d be correct. But at the same time, the BDS movement for South Africa was protesting a former British Colony with colonists who had a home nation to return to. That’s really not the case with the Jews in Israel who aren’t there because it was the most profitable option for them and their ancestors, but because they were unsafe living elsewhere, frequently the countries where people are now engaging in BDS practices.

This is where I get very frustrated with the popular colonial point of view. Because we have people marching, right now in favor of better treatment and admission for refugees. I agree with those sentiments. At the same time, the doors of those very same countries were closed to Jews. Israel is guaranteed to always be open for Jews. As a diaspora people who’ve experienced numerous expulsions throughout our history, this is an important point that can’t be overlooked. The British effectively closed Palestine to Jewish refugees in 1939 in response to Palestinian anti-British and anti-Jewish immigrant riots, the year World War II started in an about face from the Balfour Declaration that there would be a safe Jewish home there. Yes, that’s British colonialism, but it was also the place where hundreds of thousands of central European Jews were able to escape from Nazism from 1933-1939. The question you have to ask yourself is “with no real alternative, would I have let those Jews die in Europe rather than escape and survive in Palestine?” 

When around a million Jews were expelled from countries in Africa and the Middle East, Israel took them in. I’m not going to pretend that they didn’t face racism and Ashkenazi supremacy issues in Israel or that they still don’t today, but it’s a lot better than staying in countries where Jews were being executed for Zionism regardless of whether or not they were Zionists, having their rights and property stolen, faced pogroms and worse and had to pick up and go. 

The thing people fail to understand is that, unlike the English, Jews have been vilified by our own countrymen for thousands of years. We’re used to it. We expect it. Using dehumanizing tactics like Academic or Cultural BDS just feeds into that notion. The mindset here is “we’re unsurprised that you hate us, but we have our own country and we don’t need to live under your judgment anymore. You taught us that we only have each other to count on and you’re proving it right now.” 

Because the Israeli mindset is so fundamentally different than the White South African mindset, different tactics would be more effective. For many Jews Israel’s existence isn’t merely a matter of “I was born and raised here and my family came here in 1887 and it’s been good to us,” it’s a matter of “they didn’t let me exist anywhere else and my parents and grandparents faced death for being Jews in another country.”

I think it’s easy for a lot of non-Palestinian gentiles to look at Jews they know in countries that have been better to Jews like the USA and think “well, they seem to be doing alright.” But it’s a different question to bring that up to an Israeli Jew whose family had to flee under desperate circumstances that they’re no different than Cecil Rhodes. 

As I’ve stated before, I don’t know that it’s effective, but I can see and respect the point of economic BDS. It’s when you get into the cultural and especially the academic BDS that encourages not just economic but interpersonal disengagement, that I think the plot is really lost. Economic boycott can start a conversation, cultural and academic boycott insists on stopping one. When that happens, your voice disappears while the hardliners keep talking and the people who can be swayed only hear the people whose voices can be heard. 

Again, Israelis don’t care if the world loves or hates them. They care that they can live. When your mind is trapped in existential queries, questions of protecting the rights of other people becomes a secondary concern. The message “they hate us, they want to kill us, we have to protect ourselves, we have nowhere else to go” is incredibly powerful. BDS doesn’t take away that mindset. It reinforces it.

existentialorchid-deactivated20  asked:

Do you consider the BDS movement to be anti-Semitic? Like, I already know that there are far too many anti-Semitic people and ideas within the movement, and I assume you would feel similarly. So my question is more whether you consider the basic position of BDS itself to be anti-Semitic?

I question its efficacy, but I don’t think it’s inherently anti-semitic. That said, plenty of BDS advocates are being anti-semitic in effect if not intent.

I’m not going to pretend that the Israeli government is saintly, or hasn’t used excessive force, or hasn’t intentionally performed actions that have derailed the peace process, and doesn’t deserve criticism and reprisal for building into the occupied territories which are supposed to be part of a sovereign Palestinian state as part of a two state solution it claims to support.

If you engage in BDS focused entirely on products and institutions of the occupied territories, I think it’s pretty clear you’ve done your reasearch, understand what you are protesting, and are applying appropriate pressure where it should be applied. If you refuse to buy any Israeli products, then you start entering a slippery slope where you are potentially boycotting Israelis who don’t support the occupation, who might not be Jewish, who might actually be in favor of a single secular state. That’s troublesome.

It becomes anti-semitic when, in the case of someone like Roger Waters, you insist you AREN’T singling out Israel when you, in fact, are. It becomes anti-semitic when you buy products from major human rights abusers from other countries, but won’t buy products from Israel. Take for example Roger Waters performing in China, Istanbul, the United States and the UK during the Iraq War. There are points where the exclusion seems especially conspicuous. Then it becomes a question of “why single out the  only Jewish state when Tibet is still occupied, when the Kurds are still being denied rights, being forced to abandon their ethnic identities and are being displaced by the millions, when the US and the UK are fighting illegal wars of choice that are causing enormous death and destruction to no purpose? If your argument is because American and British governments provide economic support to Israel, keep in mind the US funds moneys to all sorts of other regimes that have also committed abuses. The singling out bothers me and will continue to bother me and most justifications I hear for total boycott smack of justification after the fact. 

I question the effectiveness of BDS when one considers the history of anti-semitism. Israel exists because Jews feel oppressed and excluded by gentiles. Do you expect Israel to respond to BDS with anything other than thoughts of “we are under attack from the goyim yet again?” Outside of Israel, Jews are an oppressed minority who have been singled out and scapegoated for generations. Too many gentiles don’t understand that Jews expect this kind of oppression from gentiles and don’t see it as genuine concern, but as yet another attempt to persecute us. Failure to understand the long history of anti-semitism and its role in the creation of Israel makes Jews squeamish. It feels like gentiles are focusing on Israel, the Jew among nations, the same way Europeans blamed Jews for all the problems with their own governments. 

From a global perspective, the Jews and the Palestinians are BOTH oppressed people. Israeli Jews are oppressing the Palestinians to be sure, but the rest of the world needs to understand that Israel exists because of their oppression. Israeli Jews are largely refugees from the Holocaust, MENA and the Soviet Union who were oppressed, exiled and murdered by their former nations. With some justification, they see external focus on the country as just the latest incarnation of a long hatred. Their attention does not become focused on the state of Palestinians, but on the focus of a world that is and always has been harsh to the Jewish people. 

So my answer is complicated, I suppose, but everything about this situation is complicated. The problem I encounter far too often is people who refuse to appreciate the complexity of the situation, looking to pick a side and get righteously engaged with it. There is far too much confirmation bias and far too little desire to work towards a solution. I’m concerned that many BDS proponents don’t understand the nature of Israeli Jews and anti-semitism.

I’d probably ask myself the following questions:

1. Do I engage in any other BDS campaigns against other countries? If not why Israel and only Israel? China is still occupying Tibet. The condition of the Native Peoples in North America is awful. Are you fighting for these causes, too? Why or why not?

2. Do I believe Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish homeland and, if I don’t, am I fighting global anti-semitism because Jews have experienced horrific oppression in the diaspora and without Israel Jews lose that guaranteed escape hatch? Jews fleeing the Holocaust were barred from immigration in many, many circumstances. What would you do to prevent that sort of problem from ever occurring again? Are you fighting for immigrant rights now? Do you support a liberal interpretation of refugee status? Because this is the world that many anti-zionists fail to consider as a consequence of their actions.

3. Have I ever read any zionist literature? Have I allowed them to make their case before I reject them? Do I understand why many Jews would choose to be Zionists, even above their other moral quandaries, because of a legitimate fear of anti-semitism passed down through the generations from survivors of genocide, expulsion, pogroms and other such horrors? 

In short, a lot of people fail to understand that there are two forms of oppression at work here and that non-Palestinian gentiles are capable of both. Jews have a legitimate fear of the world outside of Israel. What are you doing to deal with that fear? If last summer is to be judged, anti-Israel activists have done a poor job of protecting Jews in the diaspora given the sharp rise in anti-semitism. Understand that many genuine anti-semites are exploiting the Palestinian cause to pass around anti-semitic propaganda. Our fear is real. 

An anti-zionist that doesn’t fight anti-semitism believes that Jews have no right to be safe anywhere.

anonymous asked:

I feel like a lot of the critics of Israel have gotten really unhinged lately. I was against the Gaza invasion last year, and I REALLY don't like netanyahu, but the backlash brought out the worst in a lot of the opposition and their rhetoric got downright vitriolic. So much so that it may have solidified my neutrality on the whole Israel-Palestinian conflict.

I went to a very liberal college around the turn of the millennium and I was in school when the Camp David talks collapsed and the Second Intifada occurred. Maybe it’s because people still thought that a two-state solution was probably going to happen in the near future, but there was an ability for people with opposing views to have conversations with one another and agree to disagree. 

I’m pretty sure that kind of discourse changed with Cast Lead and has only intensified over time. At this point there’s a certain orthodoxy that not only refuses to accept a two-state solution, but won’t accept any Jewish presence in the area at all. Meanwhile, the word “Zionism” has been rendered toxic by people who, generally speaking, don’t know what it is and how it has been used for over a century by anti-semites. The Holocaust gets mocked, minimized and used as a rhetorical bludgeon against its victims and their descendants, and anti-semites use “anti-zionism” to spread their poison because of genuine ignorance of so many goyische Israel critics who don’t understand what anti-semitism is for fear that, were they to actually learn about it, they would discover that they were, in fact, anti-semites. “Anti-zionist does not mean anti-semitic” is an easy and convenient cover that has the unfortunate side effect of being true in a literal sense, but it is generally used to mean “anti-zionists can’t be anti-semitic” which is hogwash of the first order.

So now you get people from countries that have exiled their native Jewish populations citing Zionism as the cause and then demonize the freshly exiled Jews for going to the only country that will take them in. You have people holding protests outside of synagogues and Kosher Groceries in the name of Palestine. What they are doing isn’t helping Palestinians. It is making Jewish life impossible. It is collectively blaming diaspora Jews for the actions of an Israeli government they can’t vote for and might not support. 

I’ve seen a post circulating of a man standing outside of a Holocaust Museum holding a sign that reads “Never Again means the Palestinians, too!” As if the two situations as comparable and as if telling Jews that our right to memory and to protection from anti-semitism hinges upon us moving to Israel and becoming citizens there so we can vote someone in who will destroy the country for him. This is Jew abuse. It is not protest. Here’s a thought, go protest outside the Israeli Embassy. It would be Islamophobic as hell to find a Mosque and protest against ISIS outside of it. Yet leftists think this kind of behavior is not only acceptable, but laudable when applied to Jews.

And then you have David Palumbo-Liu posting in Salon that “bds isn’t anti-semitism” because church groups say so. As if the religion that has done more to harm Jews than any other somehow has the legitimate authority to determine what is and isn’t anti-semitism. You get Roger Waters claiming that he isn’t singling out Israel while singling out Israel, making and defending Nazi comparisons, flying judensau over his concerts, and harassing artists who perform there. You essentially have an entire body of people on the left who are OK with Jews feeling isolated and threatened so long as they don’t say “kill the Jews.” 

There’s a point where non-palestinian goyim actually have to start paying real attention to what we feel like. Because it’s damn dehumanizing to constantly have my rights as a human being reduced to my opinion on their faulty definitions of zionism. These people need to recognize that they have to account for the power and history of anti-semitism in their activism instead of looking for the laziest possible opportunities to pass the buck on it.

This has been a disorganized rant.

this is going to fall on deaf ears because not many people are online but the bds movment is not monolithic. an action taken by advocates of bds whether it’s removing non-israel kosher products from a store or targeting jewish individuals shouldn’t represent the entire movement. it is a problem when these things aren’t only a one-time thing but it’s unfair to paint an entire movement as anti-semitic especially when it is endorsed by palestinians in palestine and who greatly rely on it for some sort of collective action from the international community. also by doing so, you also paint those palestinian advocates of bds as ‘anti-semites’ which, like i said, is completely unfair. 

heart--shaped--face  asked:

Hello! I am an Israeli-Jew living in the U.S. I support and encourage legitimate criticism of the govt of Israel and its policies. I push myself to be as critical of the govt and the occupation as I would have been if I was not an Israeli-Jew. However, I'm often confronted with ppl whose criticism crosses the line into thinly veiled anti-Semitism, by comparing Israelis and Jews alike to Nazis committing genocide and ethnic cleansing. How do I combat these claims w/out belittling legit criticism?

Here’s the issue. To an anti-semitic Israel critic your voice is invalid, doubly so because you’re Israeli. Our best hope in such a context are allies who can express where the line is in language that they can understand. 

Unfortunately, to the anti-semitic Israel critic, any Jewish person who calls out their anti-semitism is a “Zionist” and therefore unworthy of fair consideration. This has happened to some of the most outspoken anti-Zionist Jews I’ve seen. I think the biggest case in point of late has been the Jewish Voice for Peace vs. Alison Weir blow-up where defenders of Weir were quick to defend Weir because they valued her Pro-Palestinian activism more than they cared about how her actions were anti-semitic. JVP is one of the most vocal and consistent pro-Palestinian Jewish groups out there and is frequently called out by Jews further to the right for being self-hating or anti-semitic. So the notion that Jews who advocate for BDS and have opposed anti-anti-semitism measures at the University of California are called “Zionists” to silence their criticism of anti-semitism in the Pro-Palestine movement shows that, to some people, the issue isn’t Palestine but Jews. Or rather, they believe that to help the Palestinians, JEWS must be defeated, not Netanyahu, or the occupation, or even the State of Israel. 

Now, as far as we are concerned, the best thing we can do is avoid cheapening the understanding of “anti-semitism” by not using the accusation on fair criticism. It’s not going to be much, but it’s really the only choice we have as Jews. Again, this is where genile allies who can’t be as easily accused of “bias” can really help out. Distrust of Jewish voices is a central core of anti-semitism. We are believed to be excessively powerful, manipulative and untrustworthy. Nothing we say as Jews will have an impact by virtue of that prejudice.