English rock star Roger Waters starts a 6 city Canadian tour in Toronto on October 2nd. But the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is trying to develop opposition to the tour because of Waters’ very vocal criticism of Israel over the issue of human rights for Palestinians. Read more…
Israel’s largest lobby group in Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has just launched an aggressive campaign called “Tell Rogers: Leave Israel alone”. It is aimed at rock star Roger Waters who is about to begin a 6 city Canadian tour of his highly acclaimed world wide “US + Them” show.
The campaign includes a video and a petition which CIJA proposes to send to Waters. In the campaign video, CIJA claims that BDS has failed and invites readers to tell Waters that his “failed, hypocritical BDS campaign is hate“.
The petition appeals to viewers to “ADD YOUR NAME to send Roger Waters a clear message: “antisemitism, bigotry, and hatred are not welcome in Canada.”
A strange irony
CIJA does not see the irony in the fact that Waters and the BDS movement already agree with this message. He and the BDS leadership have stated on many occasions that BDS does not support anti-semitism, bigotry or racial hatred. It is not directed against Jews or even against Israelis. It is aimed at the State of Israel. It demands 3 fundamental democratic human rights for Palestinians, which so far Israel denies.
Waters, who was one of the original founders of the group Pink Floyd, has associated himself over the years with a number of progressive causes, including environmental projects like the Live Earth Concert, and the Millennium Promise, a non-profit organisation that helps fight extreme poverty and malaria.
Support for BDS – the movement to boycott Israel
Waters has visited and performed in Israel several times at the invitation of the Israeli government. But he earned the ire of the Zionist establishment in the USA and Canada when he started to speak out about human rights for Palestinians. In June 2009 he criticized Israel’s wall which cuts off the West Bank. Later that year, pledged his support for the Gaza Freedom March. But the Zionist opposition to him crystallized in 2011 when he announced that he had joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Waters has consistently maintained “I hate apartheid, not Israel”, as he did in an interview in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz with well known Israeli journalist Gideon Levy
CIJA claims that Waters and BDS have been unsuccessful, though the expensive campaign would indicate that perhaps they are not confident that this is the case. There is no doubt that the campaign against Waters has had an effect however. He has suffered significant financial losses because of it, including losing several major sponsorships.
But Waters remains undeterred. In a short interview in Montreal last year with Radio-Canada’s wildly popular Quebec television program “Tout le monde en parle”,
Waters makes it clear he is more interested in principle than profit. He gets a standing ovation from the audience.
If you want to attend, here are dates and locations for Roger Waters’ Canadian tour
10/02 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
10/03 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
10/06 Quebec City, QC – Videotron Centre
10/10 Ottawa, ON – Canadian Tire Centre
10/16 Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
10/24 Edmonton, AB – Rogers Place
10/28 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
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