Roger Waters vs. Israel

Rocker's anti-Israeli bias goes beyond politics

The film version of Roger Waters’ concert “The Wall” hits theaters nationwide for one night only on Tuesday. Here’s why audiences should avoid it at all costs.

Yes, the underlying music is a masterpiece and a concert extravaganza with few equals. But Waters’ support of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement against the state of Israel, encourages and propagates hatred towards the Jewish people.

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The BDS Movement, whose anti-Semitic mission you can learn about courtesy of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is “a thinly-disguised effort to coordinate and complement the violent strategy of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim ‘rejectionists’ who have refused to make peace with Israel for over six decades, and to pursue a high-profile campaign composed of anti-Israel Big Lies to help destroy the Jewish State by any and all means,” according to Wiesenthal’s Harold Brackman.

Waters supports this movement. In the words of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League who once defended Waters from accusations of anti-Semitism, “Roger Waters has absorbed classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and these have now seeped into the totality of his views. His comments about Jews and Israel have gotten progressively worse over time. It started with anti-Israel invective, and has now morphed into conspiratorial anti-Semitism.”

In a recent interview with Haaretz, Waters exhibited jaw-dropping ignorance – or perhaps willful ignorance – regarding Palestinian rocket attacks.

His comments about Jews and Israel have gotten progressively worse over time.

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The rockets “are completely useless, everybody knows it. They’re a gesture of resistance, that’s all. They might hit something, but they won’t. And if they do, they might kill one person, or two people, and very occasionally they do … rockets never hit anything — or very occasionally they blow a few chunks out of a tree somewhere,” Waters said.

The BBC, citing U.N. data, reported that more than 4,800 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza during a six-week period in 2014, with 224 rockets reaching residential targets. Six Israeli civilians died from those rocket attacks. Most Israelis now live within the Hamas rockets’ range.

That Waters dismisses such acts of terror should be enough to condemn him.

Is it possible to love the art but hate the artist?

So as any reasoned person must do, we all must give Waters a taste of his own medicine, and boycott his artistic work — particularly his crowning achievement that hypocritically calls for an end to all wars for the sake of the children. Apparently, Jewish children don’t count.

This brings up a broader issue for all of us who love popular culture. Is it possible to love the art but hate the artist? Ultimately, the answer depends on one’s own levels of tolerance for moral and ethical indiscretion on the part of an individual.

At what point does one’s knowledge of the artist so impinge on our conscious mind that it influences our feelings of their work? The best artistic work is itself emotional. It is meant to illicit an emotional response whose intent and meaning become muddled when our feelings about the artist become intertwined with it.

Then again, some say that every work of art has the artist embedded in its DNA. Our interpretation and experience of it will be influenced by anything we bring to the work, not just our opinion of the artist.

While such heady issues are more the purview of academics and hard-core critics, for those of us living with popular culture, the questions are rarely so obscure. It simply comes down to our gut visceral reactions.

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There are many who refuse to see the films of Roman Polanski, a child rapist who ran away from justice, despite the fact that his victim has forgiven him. Others cannot abide Woody Allen’s films, as they were made by a man who began a relationship with 21-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, his girlfriend Mia Farrow’s adopted child.

For others, the sins of the artist do not impact whatever value they find in the films. Likewise, there are those who can dismiss Waters’ hatred of Israel and still enjoy his music.

I just don’t happen to be one of them. And I hope you aren’t, either.

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