Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has fiercely criticized Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson over her decision to endorse SodaStream, an Israeli company that operates a factory in an illegal colony in the occupied West Bank.
Waters writes that in his previous encounters with Johansson, the actress struck him as a “young woman of strength and integrity who believed in truth, human rights, and the law and love.”
Now, the rock legend says that Johansson’s decision to quit her role with the charity Oxfam in order to represent occupation profiteer SodaStream “is such an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.”
He has also written privately to Johansson and to musician Neil Young urging them to respect the Palestinian call for the cultural and economic boycott of Israel.
The Canadian-born Young faces growing calls to cancel a scheduled performance in Tel Aviv this summer.
Here’s Waters’ note in full:
In the past days I have written privately to Neil Young (once) and to Scarlett Johanson (a couple of times). Those letters will remain private.
Sadly, I have received no reply from either.
And so I write this note on my Facebook page somewhat in bewilderment.
Neil? I shall ponder all of this long and hard. We don’t really know each other, but, you were always one of my heroes, I am confused.
Scarlett? Ah, Scarlett. I met Scarlett a year or so ago, I think it was at a Cream reunion concert at MSG. She was then, as I recall, fiercely anti Neocon, passionately disgusted by Blackwater (Dick Cheney’s private army in Iraq), you could have been forgiven for thinking that here was a young woman of strength and integrity who believed in truth, human rights, and the law and love. I confess I was somewhat smitten. There’s no fool like an old fool. A few years down the line, Scarlett’s choice of SodaStream over Oxfam is such an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.
I would like to ask that younger Scarlett a question or two. Scarlett, just for one example, are you aware that the Israeli government has razed to the ground a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in Southern Israel 63 times, the last time being on the 26th of December 2013. This village is the home to Bedouin. The Bedouin are, of course, Israeli citizens with full rights of citizenship. Well, not quite full rights, because in “Democratic” Israel there are fifty laws that discriminate against non Jewish citizens.
I am not going to attempt to list, either those laws (they are on the statute book in the Knesset for all to research) or all the other grave human rights abuses of Israeli domestic and foreign policy. I would run out of space. But, to return to my friend Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett, I have read your reposts and excuses, in them you claim that the Palestinian workers in the factory have equal pay, benefits and “Equal rights.” Really? Equal Rights? Do they?
Do they have the right to vote?
Do they have access to the roads?
Can they travel to their work place without waiting for hours to pass through the occupying forces control barriers?
Do they have clean drinking water?
Do they have sanitation?
Do they have citizenship?
Do they have the right not to have the standard issue kicking in their door in the middle of the night and taking their children away?
Do they have the right to appeal against arbitrary and indefinite imprisonment?
Do they have the right to re-occupy the property and homes they owned before 1948?
Do they have the right to an ordinary, decent human family life?
Do they have the right to self determination?
Do they have the right to continue to develop a cultural life that is ancient and profound?
If these questions put you in a quandary I can answer them for you. The answer is, NO, they do not.
The workers in The SodaStream Factory do not have any of these rights.
So, what are the “equal rights” of which you speak?
Scarlett, you are undeniably cute, but if you think SodaStream is building bridges towards peace you are also undeniably not paying attention.