Roger Waters, British rock legend and co-founder of the group Pink Floyd, visiting and spray-painting Israels wall surrounding the West Bank town of Bethlehem the day before his concert in Tel Aviv.. (MaanImages/Magnus Johansson)
Reaffirming his commitment to fighting injustice, the world renowned rock star Roger Waters explicitly challenged Israel to “tear down this wall” and end its occupation to achieve real peace. A day before his concert date, Waters paid a solidarity visit to the occupied Palestinian territory; he publicly endorsed the Palestinian and international demand for tearing down Israel’s Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in July 2004; and he met with representatives of the Palestinian arts community, expressing support for their non-violent resistance to Israeli oppression.
Heeding a call by PACBI, Palestinian artists, cultural organizations and community leaders appealed to Roger Waters in March to cancel his planned gig in Tel Aviv “at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland.” As a result, a dialogue was initiated between the Palestinian side and Waters, at first only through War on Want, a British organization that has led efforts in the U.K. and beyond in opposition to the Wall, and later directly with Mr. Waters as well. The weeks-long discussions were respectful, amiable and based on a common commitment to justice as a condition for attaining a genuine and lasting peace. The effort was crowned by mutual agreement on moving the concert from Tel Aviv and on advocating an end to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people during the visit and performance. Consequently, PACBI issued a press release in April expressing Palestinian civil society’s appreciation for Waters’s “courage and for his valuable contribution to bringing down all walls of oppression and subjugation, Israel’s Wall of shame included.”
While PACBI, supported by a great majority of Palestinian civil society, calls for comprehensively isolating Israel as a pariah state until it fully complies with international law, as was done to apartheid South Africa, it recognizes and welcomes the fact that Roger Waters came a long way towards observing Palestinian boycott principles, which entail: explicitly taking a stand against Israel’s occupation and oppression; refusing to come to Israel (whether for a performance, a conference, a festival or other similar endeavors) except in the context of supporting the struggle against its occupation and other forms of oppression; and turning down any invitation from an Israeli institution colluding in Israel’s racist and colonial policies.
Roger Waters has proved to be the conscientious and morally driven artist that millions around the world, including in the OPT, have known him to be. He simply refused to be another brick in Israel’s criminal Wall.
The Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is endorsed by over 170 Palestinian union, association and other civil society organization. The Call and the list of signatories can be found at: