Roger Waters, the legendary Pink Floyd frontman, apart from his artistic activities, is known for his fierce involvement in politics, particularly in the Israel-Palestine conflict. While speculations about Pink Floyd's new album and 2015 world tour have been circulating in the Internet, Waters, along with his band colleague Nick Mason, urges the Rolling Stones to cancel their upcoming concert in Tel Aviv due to Israel's policies towards Palestine. The planned gig is the band's first ever in Israel and has already been deemed a 'historic moment' by the show's promoter Shuki Weiss.
Waters, a supporter of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), wrote in a public statement: 'Playing in Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing in Sun City at the height of South African apartheid; regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime'.
This strong statement bounced wide coverage in both musical and political environment The BDS's spokesperson Rafeef Ziadah asserts that the Rolling Stones are on the path to become Israeli government's 'publicity tool' that will most likely be used to 'whitewash apartheid' and warns the band that they would 'go down in history as one of the few artists willing to perform in Israel despite its system of occupation, colonization and apartheid'.
Among the supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions there are some influential people: an American writer and activist, the author of 'The Color Purple' Alice Walker, Stephen Hawkins, Noam Chomsky, a Canadian author and anti-globalization activist Naomi Klein, a South African archbishop Desmond Tutu. However, there is fierce criticism of the BDS's activities and views. Founded in 2011, the Creative Community for Peace unites not less prominent pop culture figures: Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and many more.
What is exactly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and what are its goals? The BDS logo consists of a character with its back turned to the viewer and holding a scale; the inscription says: 'freedom, justice, equality'. The movement, initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society, appointed the official managing unit - the Palestinian BDS National Committee - in 2007, and, according to its website, it is 'a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice'. The movement's objective is to denounce Israel's discriminatory policies against Palestinians, including the military presence, colonization and ethnic cleansing. It claims that the response of the international community has been highly insufficient; thus, through boycotts, divestments and sanctions the movement advocates Israel's withdrawal from Palestine and enforces the country's authorities to respect the rights of Palestinian refugees. BDS emphasizes its respect for the law and its rights-based character.
BDS accuses Israeli academic and cultural communities of fostering hostile attitudes toward Palestinians and participating in 'maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians'. Roger Waters is not the only international artist convinced by the BDS rhetoric: Stevie Wonder decided to cancel his concert in Israel after Water's statement.
The BDS activities encompass identifying and condemning corporations presumed to violate Palestinian rightsand aim at blocking investments in such corporations by university investment portfolios and pension funds. However, as the movement claims, its most influential activities are in the field of calling for sanctions against Israel and conducting wide-ranging educational campaigns.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has as many supporters among artists as it has critics. Adding to its opposition to the two-state solution, there are objections to BDS's emotive anti-Semitic rhetoric of oppression and crime that prevents any substantive discussion. Critics accuse BDS of hypocrisy in focusing on Israel and not condemning oppressing Arab regimes in the Middle East. Umberto Eco, John Lydon of Sex Pistols, Gene Simmons of Kissand the Cohen brothers have openly opposed the BDS strategy of cultural boycotting. Roger Water's plea has a limited impact as the biggest names still eagerly come to play on Israeli stages. Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Bob Dylan and Madonna seem to ignore Water's sharp statement that 'playing in Israel is like playing in Nazi Germany'.
Eric Rosenberg in Forbes replies in the same harsh tone: 'Roger Waters of Pink Floyd should shut up about Israel, and play his guitar', mercilessly ridiculing the celebrity's political aspirations and activism and pointing out Water's ignorance and single-mindedness. Rosenberg goes even further in his criticism of Water's political statement, mentioning instances of renowned artist associated with repressive regimes,and urges the Pink Floyd frontman to revise his views.
There have been voices that the overall BDS's activities are failing and Water's plea may be the only that has met with a wider response; however, it is unlikely to appeal to the Rolling Stones.
Author: Ola Szweda / pr-controlled.com ©