Roger Waters to artists: ‘Why would you ignore your Palestinian brothers and sisters ?’

Asked about the recent decision by artists Nick Cave, Bryan Adams and Thom Yorke to either cross the picket line called for by Palestinian civil society, or announce their intention to do so, Roger Waters has told Artists for Palestine UK:

I wonder if Nick and Bryan [Adams, scheduled to play Tel Aviv December 4 and 5, and Jerusalem December 6] and Thom Yorke and the rest of these guys were to spend even a day or two in administrative detention [without charge or trial], or even once have their kids woken and arrested in the middle of the night, or, or, or……whether they would still ignore the screams of the victims and the desperate pleas for help from Palestinian civil society, whether they would still  cross the picket line.   

And before all the self justification starts, yes, of course other countries have bad records on human rights, not least the USA.   But in the fight for human rights we have to make our stand where and when we can.   In the 60s it was Jim Crow America, in the 80s and 90s it was Apartheid South Africa, now it is Lawless Apartheid Israel.   You stood up for your South African brothers and sisters in the 90s, why would you ignore your Palestinian brothers and sisters in the 2010s?   

You stand at a crossroads; you can either heed the cry, respect your brothers’ and sisters’ picket line and stand with them in their struggle for the basic human rights we all take for granted, or you can turn your backs on them, take the shilling, and entertain their lords and masters at the banquets and balls.  

4 thoughts on “Roger Waters to artists: ‘Why would you ignore your Palestinian brothers and sisters ?’

  1. Zoe says:

    “In the 60s it was Jim Crow America”

    If I may comment on the above statement before addressing the main point. It is pretty bad here in the States w/Black men & women & even children being shot to death by police (AKA ‘slave catchers’) basically for doing nothing more than living & breathing. Black people I know are frightened of being shot by police whilst walking down the street or sitting in their car or even when in their homes. It’s really not about what is on white people across the world’s sympathy radar for that decade.

    Also because Palestinians have been suffering since 1948 it’s not about noticing Palestinian suffering only now at this moment in time. Sorry I hope this is not taken as scolding – because I really heard what was meant as well – but I had to say all of that.

    On to the question of why these people behave like this. I think it is narcissism. People – musicians – w/ strong personalities who do not want to be told what to do.

    Also they might be equating criticism of Israeli govt policy w/ criticism of every Jewish person on the face of the planet. I have had rows w/ two separate bloggers & commenters in the last few months who thought they were pro-Palestinian but were virulently antisemitic. And for those who may make assumptions; neither of them was Palestinian or Syrian or Arab or North African. They listened to conspiracy theorists & I could not get them to read anything by Palestinians & pro-Palestinian Israelis & other Jewish supporters of Palestine. I told them that their antisemitism of blaming all “Jews” vs Israeli govt policy was hurting Palestinians. Finally I could have nothing to do w/ them. So I think that is at least part of the answer.

    Another is a sense of loyalty. Johnny Greenwood’s wife is Israeli for example. I think people choose sides based on identities & tribes. They begin to think w/ a hive mind. It is difficult for them to break out of that. People are social animals that want to be accepted. People don’t want to be called a ‘self loathing Jew’ or ‘self hating Jew’ or ‘anti-semitic’.

    So someone like Norman Finkelstein (w/ either one or both of his parents having survived the Holocaust) is a marvel. And often it is the people who experienced the Holocaust who speak out. (Two of my family were murdered by the Nazi State even though I am Lebanese on my father’s side). I think that is the answer really; the long shadow of anti-semitism which does in fact still exist – is difficult for some people to tease out from the desperate issue of Palestinian human rights.

    I think we all get really weary – the road seems really long – but we have to move forward w/ love & peace in our hearts. We have to bear witness to suffering. We can’t just curl up in the fetal position. Even when there are few of us & it can sometimes feel like we’re walking it in such sparse numbers we can’t make a difference – we have to keep walking. But I hear & feel the bewilderment & frustration.

    “If you can’t run then walk;
    if you can’t walk then crawl; but by all means keep moving.” – Martin Luther King Jr

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Zoe says:

    I paraphrased my favourite quote from Martin Luther King before. (I misremembered it). To give him proper honour – here is the whole quote from him verbatim:

    “If you can’t fly then run,
    if you can’t run then walk,
    if you can’t walk then crawl,
    but whatever you do
    you have to keep moving forward.”


  3. Seán Bresnahan says:

    You are right Roger. Fascism and Racismi.. have turned full circle from when their forefathers and families suffered the same in 1930s and 1940s Germany, Poland etc with Nazis. These morons in the guise of human beings are the new Nazis backed by The Donald moron.., birds of a lice infected feather. Simple kindness, tolerance, equality,compassion, love and joy in a shared future is the way forward. Anger plus anger = disaster and death. Solidarity with my wonderful Palestian brothers and sisters. Creativity and building and laughter can be achieved. Sláinte from N. Ireland where we had it the same for so long , though racism, fascism and inequality still exist here.



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