Pink Floyd cover band cancels concerts in Israel amid pressure from Roger Waters
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Pink Floyd cover band cancels concerts in Israel amid pressure from Roger Waters

Boycott activists harass members of UK group after former Floyd frontman says they shouldn’t go to ‘racist and apartheid’ country that shoots children in ‘cold blood every day’

Screen capture from video of UK Pink Floyd Experience performing in Tel Aviv in 2017. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video of UK Pink Floyd Experience performing in Tel Aviv in 2017. (YouTube)

A Pink Floyd cover band has canceled scheduled appearances in Israel amid a storm of harassment and mounting pressure from boycott activists that followed a call from the original band’s co-founder Roger Waters for the musicians to refrain from performing in a “racist” country.

The UK Pink Floyd Experience had been slated to play in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba at the beginning of January. But in an announcement on their Facebook page Saturday the band said it was canceling the performances.

The shows’ organizers, EGOeast Productions, said in a statement that the band had pulled out after a wave of boycott Israel activism “which reached a high with the publication of the band members phone numbers, who began to be harassed until they were forced to cancel the service of their devices.”

Pro-Israel activists responded to the aborted tour with a wave of comments posted to the UK Pink Floyd Experience Facebook page until the band eventually removed the site, the producers said.

“After the band announced the cancellation on its Facebook page, we were witness to an exceptional mobilization by thousands of Israelis who responded and gave their opinion about the cancellation,” the statement said. “The situation became so extreme the band took down its Facebook page.”

Musician Roger Waters performs during his Us + Them Tour at Staples Center on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

EGOeast Productions said it had continued overnight negotiations to try and save the shows.

“In the last hours, the band was asked to wait on giving an official response, with the aim of trying to uphold the contract it is signed on, and to carry out the performances after all.”

“We all hope that our efforts over the past 24 hours will bear fruit and the show will be held as planned,” the statement said.

UK Pink Floyd Experience performed in Tel Aviv in 2017 in Tel Aviv.

On Saturday Waters penned a post on Facebook lambasting the group’s latest plans.

“To sing my songs in front of segregated audiences in Israel, and contribute to the cultural whitewashing of the racist and apartheid government of that country, would be an act of unconscionable malice and disrespect,” he wrote.

“The people you intend to entertain are executing their neighbor’s children, shooting them down in cold blood every day.”

A note from Roger to UK Pink Floyd Experience:I am aghast to see you have plans to perform in Tel Aviv, Haifa and…

Posted by Roger Waters on Friday, 7 December 2018

Waters, best known as a former member of Pink Floyd who conceived the rock opera “The Wall,” has long been a passionate supporter of the Palestinian cause and has angered Israelis by leading calls for a cultural boycott of the Jewish state.

He is also is known for publicly harassing artists scheduled to visit Israel or perform there as part of a campaign by the BDS movement — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — which calls on musicians to shun Israel as a way to press the Jewish state to change its treatment of the Palestinians.

In September some 140 artists, including Waters, called for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest, which is to be held in Israel next year.

Having previously defended Waters from accusations of anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 2013 said “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” have “seeped into the totality” of the former Pink Floyd frontman’s views.

The ADL was responding to comments Water made in an interview with Counterpunch magazine comparing Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to Nazi Germany. “Judging by his remarks, Roger Waters has absorbed classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and these have now seeped into the totality of his views,” Abraham H. Foxman, the then national director of the ADL, told The Times of Israel at the time. “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.” Added Foxman: “How sad that a creative genius could become so perverted by his own narrow-minded bigotry.”

In the interview, Waters remarked, regarding the Palestinians, that the “parallels with what went on in the ’30s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.”

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