The wisdom of Roger Waters
Roger Waters — singer, songwriter, composer, anti-Semite — gave an interview to Frank Barat, published in Counterpunch. Some extracts are re-published below.
On artists playing in Israel:
The situation in Israel/ Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is un acceptable. So for an artist to go and play in a country that occupies other people’s land and oppresses them the way Israel does, is plain wrong. They should say no. I would not have played for the Vichy government in occupied France in the Second World War, I would not have played in Berlin either during this time. Many people did, back in the day. There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinian People being murdered.
The parallels with what went on in the 30’s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.
On why more artists don’t boycott Israel:
Well, where I live, in the USA, I think, A: they are frightened and B: I think the propaganda machine that starts in Israeli schools and that continues through all the Netanyahu’s bluster is poured all over the United States, not just Fox but also CNN and in fact in all the mainstream media.
The Jewish lobby is extraordinary powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry and in rock’n roll as they say.
On Max Blumenthal:
I have nearly finished Max Blumenthal’s book “Goliath: Life and Loathing in greater Israel”. It’s a chilling read. It’s extremely well written in my view. He is a very good journalist and takes great pains to make sure that what he writes is correct. He also gives a voice to the other side.
On the rabbinate:
They believe some very weird stuff you know, they believe that everybody that is not a Jew is only on earth to serve them and they believe that the Indigenous people of the region that they kicked off the land in 1948 and have continued to kick off the land ever since are sub-human.
On the Israeli government:
The lie that they have told for the last 20 years is “Oh, we want to make peace”, you know and they talk about Clinton and Arafat and Barak being in Camp David and that they came very close to agreeing, and the story that they sold was “Oh Arafat fucked it all up”. Well, no, he did not. This is not the story. The fact of the matter is no Israeli government has been serious about creating a Palestinian state since 1948. They’ve always had the Ben Gurion agenda of kicking all the Arabs out of the country and becoming greater Israel. They tell a lie as part of their propaganda machinery whilst doing the other thing but they have been doing it so obviously in the last 10 years.
Sheldon Adelson doesn’t know much about the Middle East
From The Forward, Josh Nathan-Kazis’ report on “Will Jews Exist?”, a forum at which Sheldon Adelson spewed forth on a variety of subjects. Of Adelson’s opinions, better read to be believed, I think:
- On the Palestinians: “If they truly want peace, it’s very simple to say to all their henchman, lay off the terrorism for five years.”
- Whether Netanyahu will bomb Iran without U.S. permission: “[Former Israeli prime minister Ehud] Olmert is a political person. His wind blows in the direction of the polls. [Netanyahu] is not a political person. [His] wind blows in the direction of his ideology, and his deep and unwavering support and love for the Jewish people and the state of Israel. I am absolutely convinced that Bibi says what he means, means what he says, and if he says that Iran is an existential threat, he would not live…without taking some kind of action.”
- A preemptive U.S. nuclear strike on unpopulated areas of Iran as a negotiating tactic: “Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business.’”
- Muslims: “I don’t know the difference between the Shia and the Sunnis.”
- More on the Palestinians: “There’s no such thing as a Palestinian. Do you know what they are? They call themselves southern Syrians.”
- His opposition to a two-state solution: “To go and allow a Palestinian state is to play Russian roulette.”
"I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll…"
Aged rock star and inflatable pig fancier Roger Waters has called upon his fellow musicians to boycott the State of Israel, in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign. He elected to do so in the form of a letter, which merits further reading. A few choice quotes:
Nigel Kennedy the virtuoso British violinist and violist, at The Recent Promenade Concerts at The Albert Hall in London, mentioned that Israel is apartheid. Nothing unusual there you might think, then one Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel) disputed the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and prevailed upon the BBC to censor Kennedy’s performance by removing his statement. Baroness Deech produced not one shred of evidence to support her claim and yet the BBC, non political, supposedly, acting solely on Baroness Deech’s say so, suddenly went all 1984 on us. Well!! Time to stick my head above the parapet again, alongside my brother, Nigel Kennedy, where it belongs. And by the way, Nigel, great respect man. So here follows a letter last re-drafted in July.
What a strange way to open a letter. Setting aside the misuse and abuse of George Orwell’s magnum opus, most interesting and revealing of all is that Waters wishes for us to know that Baroness Deech is Jewish — “one Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel)”, he writes. Why does Waters feel the need to reveal to us that Baroness Deech’s maiden name is more obviously Jewish? Why is it necessary to know this? One dare not speculate.
It is seven years since I joined BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) a non violent movement to oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. The aim of BDS is to bring international attention to these Israeli policies, and hopefully, to help bring them to an end.
But that it was, Roger. You would have to have read none of its materials or examined who supports BDS to believe this to be true.
BDS’ concern is not with the West Bank or violations of international law but the total delegitimisation of the State of Israel through “broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel” and therefore Israelis, whether they support the status quo or not. Moreover, BDS does not care for the establishment a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state but the washing away of Zionism entirely. BDS supports the full right of return for Palestinian refugees and as such, as Yair Rosenberg has argued, is “antithetical to the two-state solution, the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict accepted by majorities on both sides and the international community.”
Gush Katif nostalgia is based upon illusion
It has been eight years since the homes and shops and factories of Gush Katif were evacuated, since the synagogues were made flat, since the greenhouses that once yielded 90 percent of Israel’s organic produce were either taken down or turned over the Palestinian Authority. Those who were evacuated, some of whom are still to be permanently re-housed, continue to live with its legacy.
Anshel Pfeffer reported from Gaza during the disengagement, and also served in the military in the years prior. In Ha’aretz, he writes:
The first of these settlements to be evicted was the small agricultural community of Morag which, on its last day, numbered 30 families. I knew quite a few of the Morag residents personally and on the most basic human level, seeing them being removed from their homes that morning was heartbreaking. Of course it was a lot of manufactured drama; they had many months advance notice to leave and take advantage of the resettlement programs they were offered. It was their choice to remain there until the last day. They didn’t have to suffer the trauma of an Israel Defense Forces officer entering their kitchen during breakfast and ordering their children to leave. Part of me blamed them for doing that, but it was no less painful to watch.
The most poignant moment for me however was after the last settlers had been dragged out and put on the buses back to Israel. The journalists’ transport had not yet arrived and I went into the settlement’s small synagogue which had remained untouched. Some of the men would be allowed back later to pack up the Torah scrolls and prayer books and on that early afternoon, the synagogue looked just like any other tranquil house of prayer waiting for a minyan of men to assemble for Minha. In the quiet that had descended on the settlement, I could easily imagine I was just the first early arrival and in a few minutes the rest would arrive. The siddurim (prayer books) and talitot (prayer shawls) seemed to be waiting for their owners. I could have been sitting in any synagogue around the world.
One must feel some sympathy for those who had to leave their houses and their lives, whatever one’s view of the settlement enterprise itself. After all, Israeli governments one after the other never gave the residents of Gush Katif any other impression than that their status on the land was a permanent one. Up until the moment they changed their minds. Even taking into account that those who stayed in anticipation of a bitter end made the whole thing as traumatic as possible, those scenes of Jews being uprooted and dragged from their homes by the military were certainly perturbing.
Housing Ministry announces fresh settlement construction
Israel’s housing minister has given final approval for the construction of 1,187 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, just three days before Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are set to resume in Jerusalem.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) announced Sunday that 793 new apartments would be built in Jerusalem, and 394 in large settlement blocs in the West Bank.
…Four hundred new units are set to be built in the Gilo neighborhood, 210 in Har Homa, and 183 in Pisgat Zeev neighborhoods of Jerusalem. In the West Bank, Efrat would receive 149 new apartments, Ariel 117, Maaleh Adumim 92, and Beitar 36.
Of these 1,187 new units, 619 are to be constructed in consensus settlements: Gilo and Pisgat Ze’ev in Jerusalem, and Beitar Ilit in Gush Etzion. 241 will be constructed in settlements that the Palestinians believe cannot be incorporated into Israel but in reality could: Efrat and Ma’ale Adumim. The other 227 are to be built in settlements which would threaten the contiguity of a Palestinian state: Har Homa near Jerusalem, and Ari’el.
Releasing Palestinian prisoners: A crazy-stupid-brave thing to do
It demonstrates the strength of influence of the settler movement within the present government that, politically, it was easier for Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to the release of 104 Palestinian thugs, murderers, and terrorists than publicly acquiescence to a settlement freeze. It also says a good deal about Palestinian politics that it is important at all to Abbas, his cronies, and the Palestinian people to have those who have murdered Holocaust survivors, lynched IDF soldiers, and planted explosives at highway intersections back on their soil.
This just about sums it up:
As @CarnetsdAliyah points out, the prisoner release was politically the easiest of the preconditions to fulfill but the most illogical— Elias (@Fdesion) July 28, 2013
As it happens, I think the release of these prisoners was a crazy-stupid-brave thing for Netanyahu to do. Crazy, because of the possibility of recidivism from this most violent of criminals. Stupid, because a settlement freeze announced publicly and enforced in full (at least outside the blocs) would have won greater acclaim. And brave, because Netanyahu is showing some commitment to the peace process with an action that will undoubtedly prove unpopular within his party and the nation at-large.
For why it will be unpopular, just read this list of the pre-Oslo prisoners up for release and their offences:
David Ward’s off on one again
It’s good to know who hates you and it is good to be hated by the right people— David Ward (@DavidWardMP) July 27, 2013
No more apologies - we who support the # Palestinians are in the right - history will prove us right— David Ward (@DavidWardMP) July 27, 2013
"Apartheid state" - disproportionate language? Wake up in #Gaza with sewage stinking sea one side -nuclear armed state other - what u think?— David Ward (@DavidWardMP) July 27, 2013
At this point, so much water has flown by and so many stupid things have been said by David Ward that it’s barely worth getting upset about. You can read his remarks — tweets — as you see fit at this point.
And I would read them, for they may be his departing remarks. His time as as a Liberal Democrat MP is clearly coming to a close, not because what he has said above is especially dumb (at least not for him) but because since January he’s been on a pathway to severing his ties with the Lib Dems and joining with Respect or standing as an independent.
The most noteworthy thing, as Jessica Elgot pointed out, is that these tweets came at around 9.20pm on a Saturday evening, completely without prompting or cause. What forces a Member of Parliament already suspended from his party for past remarks about Israel and ‘the Jews’ to have these spasms of rage?
And, why doesn’t David Ward have a better communications staff? Who taught him to use an iPhone?