Since the start of his cross-Canada musical tour, rock star Roger Waters has been attacked by various pro-Israel organizations for his steadfast support for human rights for Palestinians. He does not appear intimidated. On his last stop, in Vancouver, he will participate in a special meeting to discuss his support for a boycott of Israel. Read more….
Roger Waters, famous as the band leader for Pink Floyd, has taken on a lot of progressive causes over his career. But after a visit to Israel in 2006, he decided to take up the issue of human rights for Palestinians, and this has made him a special target for Israel’s lobbyists in Canada and around the world.
As soon as Waters announced a 6 city Canadian tour of his highly acclaimed world wide “US + Them” concert, Israel’s main lobby group in Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) launched an aggressive petition campaign called “Tell Rogers: Leave Israel alone” under the defamatory tag-line “BDS is Hate”. B’nai Brith, a second pro-Israel lobby group, went even further. It produced a documentary film called “Wish you weren’t here”, accusing Waters of anti-Semitism, which was shown in every city he visited.
In his five concert performances to date, Waters did a lot of singing, but actually spoke very little about Israel/Palestine. He did briefly mention it in Quebec City (see from 14:45 to 15:10) telling an enthusiastic audience that many Canadians support the movement to boycott Israel, called BDS.
But the counter campaigns by CIJA and B’nai Brith seem to have had the effect of turning a simple musical tour into a test of political wills over the Israel/Palestine issue. And based on numbers alone, concern over human rights for Palestinians seems to have won hands down.
All of Waters concerts had thousands of cheering spectators. On the other hand, B’nai Brith’s documentary film, entitled “Wish you weren’t here”, only garnered 60 to 70 dispirited spectators in Ottawa, most of whom appeared to be already deeply steeped in the Zionist narrative. Elsewhere the story was the same, big crowds for Waters, small audiences for the B’nai Brith film.
Waters doubles down
The aggressive defamatory campaigns, and their allegations of anti-Semitism, seem to have energized Waters. He has now added a new stop on his tour. On October 26th in Vancouver, he will participate in an unscheduled event which will focus specifically on Israel/Palestine and BDS. Those not familiar with Rogers’s activism might be surprised by his depth of knowledge, commitment and principles-based approach to the issue.
Roger Waters on Palestine
St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church
1022 Nelson St., Vancouver
October 26 at 7 pm.
He will be interviewed by Martha Roth, a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.
The event will be chaired by Itrath Syed, an Instructor at Langara College and Simon Fraser University.
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