Ali Abunimah-11 August 2017
Roger Waters says he won’t be deterred by attempts to silence him because of his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.
The former Pink Floyd bass player talked to RT’s Anya Parampil about the effort by a group of local politicians on New York’s Long Island to have his September performance at the Nassau Coliseum canceled because he backs BDS.
But so far free speech is prevailing. Last month, the lawyer for the Nassau Events Center, the company that has a 49-year lease to run the state-owned venue, affirmed that Waters’ opinions are protected speech.
Chief legal officer Jeffrey Gewirtz wrote that the company “respects the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all people and therefore intends the Coliseum – under its stewardship – to be a venue that respects the expression and exchange of a wide variety of ideas and viewpoints.”
The effort to target him, Waters noted, comes in the context of a bigger push by Israel lobby groups to silence support for Palestinian rights, particularly with the Israel Anti-Boycott Act which is currently before Congress.
Play Tel Aviv, endorse Israel
Waters also criticized Radiohead’s decision to play in Tel Aviv last month, despite appeals from Palestinians to the band and its frontman Thom Yorke to heed their call for a boycott.
Playing in Tel Aviv amounts to an endorsement of Israeli government policy, according to Waters.
“Spokespersons of that government have said how excited they are, that this is the best thing for their hasbara – which is their explaining to the rest of the world what a wonderful and precious democracy Israel is,” Waters said.
“And when they cross the picket line, they are making a public statement that they do endorse the policies of the government, whatever they say, because that is what will be reported in Israel.”
“That is why Radiohead have been so soundly criticized by anybody with progressive ideas about human rights,” Waters added.
“We’re living in 1984”
Asked why his views receive so little attention in mainstream media, Waters referred to what he hears from producers: “I’m told that they can’t answer that question but it comes from above.”
Waters said he was told this by a producer for PBS talk show host Charlie Rose.
“We’re living in 1984,” Waters said, referring to the George Orwell novel in which all dissenting views are erased. “In order to retain a position of power, you need to be really good at propaganda.”
He lamented that media are talking about distractions like “Russiagate” while the symbolic Doomsday Clocknow stands at two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, indicating that the risk of a nuclear war is greater than ever.
Waters says too many people are not represented by contemporary politics: “They want there to be a society where they care for their brothers and sisters. And they would like that to extend beyond the borders of the United States.”
“All human beings deserve human and civil rights, including the Palestinians,” Waters said. “And we’re winning it. This is why they want to silence me, this is why they call me an anti-Semite and this why they don’t want me on Charlie Rose or Stephen Colbert, speaking.”
Watch the video above.