The Radicalism of Roger Waters
Hatred and Discord at UCLA and a Campus Near You
Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters recently narrated a film entitled “The Occupation of the American Mind,” which purports to expose a vast conspiracy between the “Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby…to shape American media coverage of the [Israeli-Arab] conflict in Israel’s favor.”
Other participants in the film include: Amira Hass, an Israeli journalist who has expressed support for deadly rock-throwing attacks against Israelis as a “birthright and duty” of the Palestinians; Max Blumenthal, whose anti-Israel tirades are favorites of the arch anti-Semite and white supremacist David Duke; and Stephen Walt, best-known as the author of a controversial book alleging that a pro-Israel lobby controls American foreign policy in the Middle East.
In fact, nearly every supposed expert participating in this film is at best highly critical of Israel — and at worst entirely hostile to Israel and her very right to exist — immediately ruling out any chance that it is meant to be a serious and balanced critique of a lack of diverse perspectives in the American media.
Waters himself has previously compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying that when it comes to Israel, “the parallels with what went on in the 30’s in Germany are so crushingly obvious,” blamed a mythical “Jewish lobby” for a lack of support for his views within Hollywood and the wider United States (disturbingly mirroring anti-Semitic canards of extreme Jewish power), and downplayed and almost tacitly supported the firing of rockets into Israel by the Hamas terrorist organization.
But perhaps the best evidence that this film was created as pure propaganda rather than a scholarly pursuit is its stamp of approval from the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). SJP is the leading anti-Israel organization on US campuses, well known for its radical views and tactics — which we at Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) would argue often infringe upon freedom of speech.
SJP makes a habit of disrupting and shutting down events which present narratives with which they disagree. Just this year, SJP chapters have disrupted events from Georgetown to UC Irvine, from the University of Maryland to the University of New Mexico — among many others — that were deemed to be too pro-Israel.
Earlier this year, for example, SJP at UC Irvine was chastised by university administrators for violating student conduct policies after disrupting the screening of an Israeli film. In 2014, the SJP chapter at Loyola University in Chicago was suspended for blocking Jewish students from attending an event. And that same year, SJP at UCLA was reprimanded by the president of the University of California system for violating the principles of “civility, respect, and inclusion.”
Today, Waters himself is set to participate in a screening of the film with SJP at UCLA. Isn’t it rather telling that this film — criticizing the media for only showing one narrative, highlighting only one side of a complex conflict, is being screened by an organization that makes a habit of silencing all narratives but their own?
That a cohort of those who have expressed their desire to eradicate Israel as the Jewish homeland has produced a film without balance is no surprise. But to those us us who wish to build bridges, it is quite disheartening.
This film may soon be coming to a campus near you, bringing a myopic narrative — which is counterproductive to the nuances a peace resolution requires — in the hope of isolating Israel in the form of boycotts, helping to deny Israelis and Palestinians the opportunity to achieve the diplomacy and dialogue so necessary needed to form the mutual respect, compromise, and cooperation on which the road to peace will ultimately be paved.
As always, we at CCFP — an organization comprised of prominent entertainment industry executives devoted to promoting the arts as a means to peace and to countering the cultural boycott of Israel — are disappointed that Roger Waters, who could do such good in the world by raising his voice for peace, has instead chosen to align himself with the voices of hatred and discord.