Musician Roger Waters speaks out against the criminalisation in France of non-violent boycott in defence of Palestinian rights. We reproduce his letter, picked up from a French news agency by the website Mondoweiss.
Mes Cher Citoyens,
Along with most thinking, feeling and compassionate members of global civil society, I deplore the occupation of Palestine and the subjugation of all of its non-Jewish peoples. The State of Israel’s anti-Palestinian discrimination since 1947/8 is unacceptable.
I am anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-war, anti-oppression, and anti- discrimination.
We the peoples of the rest of global civil society have always tipped our hat to you the French, for your embracing of the “Declaration des Droits des L’Hommes” in 1789. There always resided, we believed, in your collective beating heart, devoted as you were to the principles of Fraternity, Equality and Liberty, an attachment to the defense of the oppressed everywhere, meme hors de France!
Today I read to my horror that a court in your land has declared illegal a peaceful protest by BDS supporters against the policies of the current government of Israel, which are racist, oppressive and discriminatory, claiming that the protest itself is discrimination and imposing fines upon the peaceful protesters.
This is a sad day for France and for the French judiciary. To take such a stand against BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) for employing the same nonviolent tools that were used in India against the oppression of British rule in the mid-20th century, and by American protesters, both black and white, in the Jim Crow South of the USA, and also by both black and white protesters from all over the world in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa is a stain on the good name of The French Republic.
BDS, BOYCOTT DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS, IS, SO FAR, THE ONLY EFFECTIVE PATH TO THE POSSIBILITY OF PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND BASED ON THE WELL BEING OF BOTH PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS SHARING FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY.
Why would your judiciary oppose it? A public outcry in your great country should demand a public inquiry into the legal grounds for bringing these complaints against BDS supporters. In any event, on a personal note, I should declare an interest. The supporters of BDS, who have been attacked by your judiciary, have my unequivocal support, respect and love.
Any man or woman who mans the barricades in support of our oppressed brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel for that matter is my brother and sister.
This issue is not complicated, it is a matter of right and wrong, it is a matter of the correct or incorrect application of the law. The law should serve the oppressed not the oppressors. If your law protects the oppressors, the racists and the discriminators, and punishes the men and women of good heart who man the barricades of freedom, wherever those barricades may exist in our small planet, then your law is an ass.
With love and respect. Chers Citoyens