Former Pink Floyd frontman sparks fury by comparing Israelis

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PostSun Dec 15, 2013 3:42 pm » by Malogg


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Former Pink Floyd frontman sparks fury by comparing Israelis to Nazis

Religious leaders react angrily to Roger Waters' latest outspoken attack on treatment of Palestinians

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Roger Waters said the parallels between Israel and Germany in the 1930s were 'crushingly obvious'. Photograph: Rex

Inflammatory remarks by the musician Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, comparing the modern Israeli state to Nazi Germany have put him at the centre of a furious dispute.

Performers and religious figures reacted angrily to the veteran rock star's argument that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians can be compared to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. "The parallels with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious," he said in an American online interview last week.

Waters, 70, a well-known supporter of the Palestinian cause, has frequently defended himself against accusations that he is antisemitic, claiming he has a right to urge fellow artists to boycott Israel.

This summer he was criticised for using a pig-shaped balloon adorned with Jewish symbols, including a Star of David, as one part of the stage effects at his concerts. Waters countered that it was just one of several religious and political symbols in the show and not an attempt to single out Judaism as an evil force.

Now leading American thinker Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has raised the stakes by describing Waters' views as audacious and clearly antisemitic.

Writing in the New York Observer, the rabbi said: "Mr Waters, the Nazis were a genocidal regime that murdered six million Jews. That you would have the audacity to compare Jews to monsters who murdered them shows you have no decency, you have no heart, you have no soul." The rabbi was responding to Waters's latest comments on the Middle East. Speaking to the leftwing CounterPunch magazine, the musician criticised the US government for being unduly influenced by the Israeli "propaganda machine".

The former Pink Floyd frontman, who has recently toured the world with a show based on the influential 1979 album The Wall, went on to describe the Israeli rabbinate as "bizarre" and accused them of believing that Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East were "sub-human". Waters suggested the "Jewish lobby" was "extraordinarily powerful". On the subject of the Holocaust, he said: "There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it's the Palestinian people being murdered."

Speaking from New York on Saturday night, Waters strongly rejected Rabbi Boteach's characterisation of his views. He said: "I do not know Rabbi Boteach, and am not prepared to get into a slanging match with him. I will say this: I have nothing against Jews or Israelis, and I am not antisemitic. I deplore the policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories and Gaza. They are immoral, inhuman and illegal. I will continue my non-violent protests as long as the government of Israel continues with these policies.

"If Rabbi Boteach can make a case for the Israel government's policies, I look forward to hearing it. It is difficult to make arguments to defend the Israeli government's policies, so would-be defenders often use a diversionary tactic, they routinely drag the critic into a public arena and accuse them of being an antisemite."

Waters continued: "The Holocaust was brutal and disgusting beyond our imagination. We must never forget it. We must always remain vigilant. We must never stand by silent and indifferent to the sufferings of others, whatever their race, colour, ethnic background or religion. All human beings deserve the right to live equally under the law."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "Everyone is entitled to an opinion and to advocate passionately for a cause, but drawing inappropriate parallels with the Holocaust insults the memory of the six million Jews – men, women and children – murdered by the Nazis. These kinds of attacks are commonly used as veiled antisemitism and should be exposed as such."

Jo-Ann Mort, vice-chair of US Jewish group Americans for Peace Now, is calling for musicians and other entertainers to go to Israel to understand that there is also Israeli opposition to discrimination against Arabs. Speaking to the Observer from California, she said it was important for international performers to "speak their mind to audiences about the nation's successes and failures. Just as Israeli musicians – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – do."

"The media in Israel flock to foreign entertainers. Performers would have the opportunity to make their viewpoints known – and it will also help to break the logjam that fundamentalists have had on both sides," she argued.

Mort supports the anti-boycott approach of Israeli singer and activist David Broza, whose forthcoming album East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem features covers of songs that urge understanding, including Waters's own song Mother, from the album The Wall.

"Music captivates your head and your mind," Broza recently argued. "If it comes with good vibes, then everyone wants to be part of it. The hard work comes from having a belief in what you are doing and in not stopping at the barricades that are posted at every corner."

Last week Waters's words drew a strong response from the Community Security Trust, the body that monitors anti-Jewish activity in Britain. A spokesman told the Jewish Chronicle that Waters's comments "echo the language of antisemitism" and added that the musician was "living proof of how easily people who pursue extreme anti-Israel politics can drift into antisemitic statements and ideas".

Bicom, the UK-based Israel advocacy organisation, also condemned Waters's views. Chief executive Dermot Kehoe said: "The statements by Roger Waters calling for a cultural boycott of Israel and comparing the country to Nazi Germany are repugnant and fly in the face of both the reality in Israel today and the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians."

In August Waters used his Facebook page to respond to allegations that he was an "open hater of Jews", made by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in an interview with an American weekly Jewish newspaper, the Algemeiner.

"Often I can ignore these attacks, but Rabbi Cooper's accusations are so wild and bigoted they demand a response," Waters wrote, adding that he had "many very close Jewish friends".

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/d ... rael-nazis

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PostSun Dec 15, 2013 6:29 pm » by Harbin


This is very interesting. At least two generations of people in the English speaking countries and beyond love Pink Floyd. Rogers Waters carries alot of water, so to speak. Should the rhetoric of the various Jewish/Zionist defense organizations becomes overly vitriolic, the backlash with be quite strong. Maybe game changing.

Let's hope for the best !
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PostSun Dec 15, 2013 8:56 pm » by Blondie1w2000


Harbin wrote:This is very interesting. At least two generations of people in the English speaking countries and beyond love Pink Floyd. Rogers Waters carries alot of water, so to speak. Should the rhetoric of the various Jewish/Zionist defense organizations becomes overly vitriolic, the backlash with be quite strong. Maybe game changing.

Let's hope for the best !



No doubt within the next year Mr. Waters will be framed in some type of of sexual assault charge...maybe a child sexual assault. Like Assange, et al.

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PostSun Dec 15, 2013 9:42 pm » by 99socks


Blondie1w2000 wrote:
Harbin wrote:This is very interesting. At least two generations of people in the English speaking countries and beyond love Pink Floyd. Rogers Waters carries alot of water, so to speak. Should the rhetoric of the various Jewish/Zionist defense organizations becomes overly vitriolic, the backlash with be quite strong. Maybe game changing.

Let's hope for the best !



No doubt within the next year Mr. Waters will be framed in some type of of sexual assault charge...maybe a child sexual assault. Like Assange, et al.



Yeah.

The irony though, is not that they pulled the "anti-semite" card... it's that they played the "poor-me" card as justification for acting like the Nazis they claim they are offending at being compared to.
I can't speak about how much of the Constitution is in effect anymore... But thank God we still somewhat resemble a Republic and not a democracy!


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PostMon Dec 16, 2013 1:04 am » by Mydogma


Bravo to Mr Waters!...Brilliant!
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PostMon Dec 16, 2013 4:31 am » by Kinninigan


:flop:


show me a band from israel that can play and make music THIS GOOD...

Roger Waters wins!

:mrgreen:





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PostMon Dec 16, 2013 8:47 am » by Akashicrebel


If you want me to cut myself you should say:"stop it ! This is disgusting! I can't watch it! I think I'm going to puke!" But if you don't want me to cut myself you should say:"go ahead. Cut yourself"

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PostMon Dec 16, 2013 2:46 pm » by Malogg


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Roger Waters and the antisemitism question

The Pink Floyd singer is certainly guilty of talking about Israel in a predictable and unhelpful way

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Roger Waters has "a penchant for grand gestures and narratives". Photograph: Torben Christensen/AFP/Getty Images

It's happening increasingly often: a prominent public figure makes a vituperative criticism of Israel, accusations of antisemitism follow and then come emphatic denials. This time it's Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd vocalist, who has fanned the constantly glowing embers of controversy. Among other things, he has claimed that the "parallels [between Israel's actions against the Palestinians] with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious", that the Israeli rabbinate views Palestinians as "sub-humans", and that the "Jewish lobby" is "extraordinarily powerful". This comes on the back of Waters' long history of pro-Palestinian activity, including supporting a cultural boycott of Israel.

In response, Waters has been accused of antisemitism by firebrands such as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and more measured voices such as Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust. Waters vociferously denies antisemitism, complaining that defenders of Israel "routinely drag the critic into a public arena and accuse them of being an antisemite".

So who is right? Is Waters guilty of antisemitism?

The problem with viewing the Waters controversy through the lens of the antisemitism debate is that it becomes a zero-sum game: whether his words were antisemitic or not. If they were not, then the assumption is that they would be acceptable.

Yet there are other ways to analyse discourse on Israel. What would happen if one temporarily (and, yes, artificially) removes the question of antisemitism and looks at Waters' remarks the way one might look at other forms of political discourse? This leads to other questions: was Waters' intervention useful? Were his words proportionate and reasonable? Should we take what he says seriously?

Accusations that Israel is behaving in a Nazi-like manner are hardly novel. In fact they are something of a cliche not just in the controversy over Israel but in a wide range of other debates. Godwin's Law draws attention to the wearisome regularity with which Nazi Germany is invoked; for some, its corollary is that in any debate the first one to mention the Nazis has lost.

Not only is comparing Israel to Nazi Germany predictable, even the harshest reading of Israel's actions shows that the analogy is completely over the top. Israel can arguably be accused of subtle and not-so-subtle forms of discrimination and even ethnic cleansing of Palestinians over its history, but it has never committed systematic mass murder and the existence of Palestinian citizens of Israel (albeit often marginalised) is something that no genuinely neo-Nazi regime could tolerate.

Waters' other arguments are similarly cliched and disproportionate. It's a lazy commonplace to dismiss Jewish concerns of antisemitism as the cynical suppression of pro-Palestinian campaigners. It's similarly predictable to attribute US support for Israel to Jewish lobbying.

So there are multiple reasons to condemn Waters' interventions in the Israel-Palestinian debate. Whether or not he is guilty of antisemitism, he is guilty of being trite, predictable and using disproportionate language.

There is something about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that sucks people in and brings out the worst in them. In Waters' case it is his penchant for grand gestures and narratives, which work brilliantly in the musical sphere but can easily tip over into the boorish and hackneyed in the political.

Waters isn't alone in this. Both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian campaigning too often consists of a self-perpetuating set of constantly repeated, unsubtle formulas. The antisemitism debate has also been drawn into this vortex.

It may be too much to hope for a calmer, more nuanced discussion of Israel-Palestine and antisemitism, but perhaps it's possible for protagonists to find new ways to talk about their concerns. The first step could be calling out instances of banal interventions in the debate. Even if you don't believe Waters is guilty of antisemitism, he is certainly guilty of perpetuating a tiresomely unhelpful way of talking about a vitally important issue.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ?CMP=fb_gu
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PostMon Dec 16, 2013 3:15 pm » by Harbin


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Keith Kahn-Harris is a writer and sociologist based in London. He is the author of
Judaism: All That Matters, Turbulent Times: The Jewish Community Today
(with Ben Gidley) and Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge

Waters' other arguments are similarly cliched and disproportionate. It's a lazy commonplace to dismiss Jewish concerns of antisemitism as the cynical suppression of pro-Palestinian campaigners. It's similarly predictable to attribute US support for Israel to Jewish lobbying.


You minimize or dismiss Waters arguments. Just because they are commonplace, doesn't mean they are untrue, Keith.
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PostMon Dec 16, 2013 3:48 pm » by Spikey


He's right though, regardless of who is 'furious' over what he says..i'd be willing to put big money on a bet that the Palestinians are every so slightly more furious over their children being murdered by the fascist Israelis, and then being forced out of their homes and watching the bastards bulldoze them into rubble...that usually infuriates people more than a musician putting his or her political point across eh?

Besides, contrary to what the Israeli apologists claim, Waters DOES NOT claim that Jews are like NAZIS..he specifically stated that ISRAELIS are like NAZIS.

There's a difference...you can be Jewish and despise the Israeli regime as much as any other person. These cowardly wankers always trot out the 'antisemitic' card when backed into an intellectual or factual corner.

Once again, for the honesty and conscientiously challenged that seek to defend murderers and thieves in Israel, Antifascist / antiIsraeli is not the same as antisemitic, not by a long shot.

Good for you Mr. Waters.



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