Pink Floyd’s Waters: US has ‘knee-jerk’ support for Israel

Pink Floyd’s Waters: US has ‘knee-jerk’ support for Israel

Singer says he's 'thinking through' his call to boycott Israel, claims Washington doesn't truly want to broker a peace deal with the Palestinians

Roger Waters. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
Roger Waters. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Former Pink Floyd vocalist and bassist Roger Waters has said he is carefully thinking through his call to boycott Israel.

In an interview Monday with the Huffington Post, Waters also said the US has a “knee-jerk” policy to support “anything” that Israel does and that, where resolutions concerning Israel are concerned, Washington’s use of its veto power in the UN Security Council shows that Washington is opposed to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last month, Water told the pro-Palestinian Electronic Intifada website that sanctions and a boycott were the “most effective way to go” in dealing with the Jewish state. He said he wrote Stevie Wonder in December in an effort to dissuade him from playing at a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event, saying it “would be like playing a police ball in Johannesburg the day after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.”

On Monday the singer told HuffPost Live that he was mulling his position on the boycott.

“I am thinking all of this through extremely carefully, and I’m thinking it all through extremely carefully because I care more about the outcome, because I care about the people involved, than I do about the moment.”

The musician said he was trying to think strategically, noting that he’d seen the recently released documentary “The Gatekeepers,” in which six former heads of the Shin Bet security service were interviewed.

“All those six ex-leaders of Shin Bet agree” that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not be attainable due to Israel’s own actions in the West Bank, Waters said. “The occupation and the settlement building is an impregnable obstacle to peace. There can never be peace unless the occupation ends and the settlement building ends.”

Waters laid out what he sees as the main ingredient for peace: understandable, he said, by “rational” people. “You know, assuming you’re not an ultra-right-wing religious sort of fanatic who thinks that Israel should extend from Turkey to Mali… assuming that you’re rational and you care about other human beings, the goal, strategically, should be a solution of the Palestinian refugee problem, an end to the occupation, security and the right to lead a decent life for all the citizens of Israel – both the Jewish citizens and the Palestinian citizens – which are 20 percent [of the population],” he said.

Asked if there was a “chilling effect” on speaking openly and honestly in the US about Israel, Waters replied, “This is one of those moments where you have to decide to open the books and whether it’s gonna blow up in your face; and whether it’s gonna render you a less effective advocate of peace in the middle east or not.

“I am optimistic that change is happening because I have lots and lots of Jewish friends – I couldn’t be less anti-Semitic – and many of my Jewish friends express to me their distress that (a) the government policies there don’t reflect the way that they feel about the situation and that they kind of agree with the heads of Shin Bet that the tactics are not receiving the results that they’d like to see. But also that they’re beginning to be more and more be concerned why it is that their government – because these are citizens of the United States – is so steadfastly opposed to there being any solution to the problems.”

Asked if he really thinks the US government might be apathetic rather than opposed, Waters said, “No, they’re not apathetic, because they exercise a veto in the [UN] Security Council on a very regular basis and have done ever since 1948, and certainly since 1967. If it hadn’t been for the United States’ use of the veto there would have been UN resolutions galore trying to steer the Israeli government into a more strategic direction – a direction which was more likely to bring forward the outcome that all of everybody who cares about people all over the world are desperate to see. We’ll raise the blockade of Gaza and give a chance for there to be peace talks. The possibility of a two-state solution, I’m told by strategically thinking friends of mine, is almost beyond us now because of the settlements, which the United States could stop tomorrow,” he said, snapping his fingers.

“Now, why don’t they? I don’t know, you don’t know. This is one of those ‘I have nothing to hide but the truth’ questions, because if you ask anybody, they won’t tell you. You say ‘Why? Why? What is that about?’”

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