Will all Pink Floyd fans please stand up and tune into Roger Waters’ message for today? Pretend like you just got home from the record store after purchasing the newest, highly-anticipated Pink Floyd album and you’re about to sit in front of your stereo and listen to the complete album without interruption. Listen up, this is gonna be good.
The Guardian just published a column by Roger Waters in which he declares his support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to be levied against Israel until the occupation ends and Palestinians and Israelis enjoy equal rights:
Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa’s Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.
Waters’ public stance is huge. He is the highest-profile musician to declare his support for the BDS movement to date. The nonviolent struggle against Israeli apartheid is going mainstream, and not in some soft, cuddly, watered-down manner; but BDS is a means of nonviolent struggle that really has some teeth, as was seen in South Africa. A cultural boycott of Israel, where artists would refuse to entertain and whitewash Israeli apartheid, is a nonviolent tool with the power to rapidly erode the moral standing of Israel in the world.
Waters doesn’t beat around the bush when speaking about the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and the diaspora, that has brought him to publicly supporting BDS. Instead, Waters concisely describes the injustice inflicted on Palestinians and challenges people of conscience to wake from their slumber:
In my view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair-minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.
It’s made clear in Waters’ column, and in the original call for BDS that came from Palestinian civil society in 2005, that this is not about targeting or punishing Israelis:
My conviction is born in the idea that all people deserve basic human rights. This is not an attack on the people of Israel. This is, however, a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott.
By supporting the BDS movement, and urging other artists to support the cultural boycott by refusing to perform in Israel, Waters has taken a bold step in support of equality and basic human rights for Palestinians and Israelis. Waters acknowledges the stalemate taking place at the governmental level and calls for Israelis, many of whom are fed up with their government’s intransigence, and people around the world to support this nonviolent struggle for justice.
Where governments refuse to act people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government’s policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.
Boycott. Divest. Sanction.