JCRC Statement on Roger Waters concerts in Boston

Roger Waters, lead singer and co-founder of Pink Floyd, is coming to Boston as part of 20-city North American tour. He will be performing here on September 27th and 28th, just prior to Yom Kippur.

In addition to his music, Waters is known for political activism and has been a vocal supporter of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement (BDS), designed to isolate Israel in the international community. Waters has made many harsh accusations against Israel and has publicly called on other artists and musicians to support BDS. This summer, he engaged in a public argument with the band Radiohead and encouraged them to cancel a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv. Despite Waters' pressure, Radiohead went forward with their concert.

While we encourage discussion and debate about Israeli and Palestinian policies, we reject conduct and language that demonizes, delegitimizes, or challenges Israel’s right to exist.

Waters has regularly violated the terms of constructive dialogue, delegitimizing Israel by:

  1. Actively seeking to undermine recognition of the Jewish people to self-determination;
  2. Denying Israel the right of self-defense possessed by every other nation;
  3. Equating contemporary Israeli policies with those of the Nazis, a comparison that has been defined as anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department;
  4. Characterizing Israel as an apartheid state;
  5. Advocating boycotts of Israeli goods, academic, or cultural activities intended as punitive measures against Israel;
  6. Singling out Israel for international sanction that asks Israel to behave in ways not asked of other nations;
  7. Employing long-standing anti-Jewish motifs, such as those that assert Jewish control or conspiracy to control financial institutions, media, or government.

It is clear that BDS is a failed tactic because it complicates the peace process by focusing the blame on one party and ignoring incitement and violence perpetuated by some Palestinians against Israelis. While music and the arts can be used as tools to promote mutual recognition and understanding, Waters has instead decided to use his platform to promote divisiveness and Israeli isolation. The only way to reach a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians is through the two-state solution, directly negotiated by the two parties. This goal has long been supported by the American and Israeli governments and the Palestinian Authority. The BDS movement offers no constructive path to peace, instead attempting to make Israelis feel so isolated and under so much pressure that they will demand an end to the occupation without regard for valid security concerns. This only makes negotiation between the parties more difficult.

Rather than undertaking actions that isolate and assign blame to only one side in a complex conflict, we who live outside of Israel should engage in processes that help create conditions conducive to the two-state solution. We must support Israelis and Palestinians building co-existence and mutual recognition through people-to-people initiatives, urge both parties to refrain from behaviors that move us farther from a just and lasting peace, and ultimately encourage the parties to resume direct negotiations leading to a comprehensive end of conflict agreement. We hope that when Waters appears in Boston he will focus on his music instead of attacking Israel and its supporters.