From the headlines he’s been making, it seems that former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters is becoming better known for his politics than for his music.
Take this week, for example, when German broadcasters made the decision not to air his concerts in Germany next summer following public backlash against his actions toward Israel, which are deemed by many to be anti-Semitic.
Waters is a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate Israel in the cultural, academic, diplomatic, and economic arenas with the end goal of eliminating it as a state.
In support of this movement, which is often accused of hypocrisy and discrimination for singling out Israel — and only Israel — among all the countries of the world, Waters spends a great deal of time putting pressure on his colleagues within the music industry to cancel their upcoming concerts in Israel, often using extreme and inaccurate language to convince them to do so.
For instance, he has compared the actions of the Israeli government to those of Nazi Germany, saying that the parallels between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what Germany did to the Jews in the 30s are “so crushingly obvious.”
Considering Nazi Germany engaged in a systematic campaign of genocide against the Jewish people which resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews — a third of the entire Jewish population of the world — whereas Israel is in a complex political struggle with the Palestinians that, though it has resulted in far too many deaths on both sides, cannot objectively be viewed as anywhere near the Holocaust in terms of scale or purpose, this is generally considered nothing more than a completely false way to delegitimize the State of Israel and to turn the Jews into the ultimate villain.
He has also used classic anti-Semitic language about an all-powerful Jewish lobby, claiming that other musicians are afraid to oppose it out of fear for their careers.
This has lead the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — an organization which fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry — to declare in 2013 that “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” have “seeped into the totality” of his views.
Many musicians who have found themselves the target of Roger Waters’ BDS pressure — including Thom Yorke, Nick Cave, Alan Parsons, and Dionne Warwick – have spoken out against him as well, accusing him of bullying and censorship.
Especially relevant after this week, the new documentary “Wish You Weren’t Here,” by #1 New York Times best-selling author Ian Halperin, examines the actions and motivations of Waters and the BDS movement in the context of the troubling rise in global anti-Semitism. On Tuesday December 5th, Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center will host a screening of the film at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
Following the screening, a panel of influential Hollywood executives, together with Mr. Halperin, will hold a Q&A. Other panelists will include: CCFP co-founder David Renzer, chairman/CEO of Spirit Music Group; Rick Rosen, WME Founding Partner and Head of Television; and David Lande, Esq., entertainment attorney with Ziffren Brittenham. It will be moderated by Moriah Films writer/director and Academy Award® winner Richard Trank.
The event, which is open to the public, is expected to attract many high-level entertainment industry executives. Anybody wishing to attend should RSVP at this link. For those who don’t live in the Los Angeles area, the event will be live streamed on our Facebook page.