Roger Waters has dismissed criticism that his long-term backing for the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement represents at attempt to censor musicians, claiming: “This isn’t about music, it’s about human rights.”
The ex-Pink Floyd frontman – who has launched high-profile campaigns attempting to stop bands such as Radiohead and Guns N Roses performing in Israel - was responding to comments by singer Nick Cave who attacked the goals of the BDS campaign after performing a concert in Tel Aviv.
At a press conference, Mr Cave had explained that there were two reasons why he felt compelled to play in Israel.
“One is that I love Israel and I love Israeli people, and two is to make a principled stand against anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians,” he said.
Responding in a statement, Mr Waters said: “Nick thinks this is about censorship of his music? What? Nick, with all due respect, your music is irrelevant to this issue, so is mine, so is Brian Eno’s, so is Beethoven’s - this isn’t about music, it’s about human rights.
“We, hundreds of thousands of us, supporters of BDS and human rights throughout history all over the world join together in memory of Sharpeville and Wounded Knee and Lidice and Budapest and Ferguson and Standing Rock and Gaza and raise our fists in protest.
“We hurl our glasses into the fire of your arrogant unconcern, and smash our bracelets on the rock of your implacable indifference.”
Mr Waters was backed up by the Artists for Palestine UK group who accused Mr Cave of “giving comfort to the unjust”. They added: “Nick Cave has used the opportunity of a press conference in Israel to speak out about ‘silencing’”
Mr Waters has previously faced criticism that his anti-Israel views are in fact antisemitic. He compared the Israeli government to Nazi Germany he has also angered Jewish groups for using a pig-shaped balloon with symbols including a Star of David, at one of his concerts.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the balloon as a “grotesque display of Jew-hatred” and called the musician an “open hater of Jews.”
In a video Mr Waters was asked what he would say about those South Africans who claim that describing Israel as apartheid is insulting to their experience.
In his response, the musician called such people “entirely ignorant” and said “it’s hard not to go back to [Joseph] Goebbels,” the Nazi minister of propaganda. “The tactic is to tell the big lie as often as possible over and over and over again.”