Roger Waters Calls for Boycott of Israel

Pink Floyd rocker accuses government of 'running riot'

Roger Waters
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Roger Waters performs in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
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Pink Floyd's Roger Waters says a boycott of Israel, similar to the one implemented against South Africa during apartheid, is the "way to go." He accuses the Israeli government of running a similar regime by occupying the West Bank and Gaza territories in a new interview with the Electronic Intifada.

Waters became an outspoken supporter of the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel after visiting the West Bank in 2006, where he spray-painted the lyric "We don't need no thought control" from Pink Floyd's famous anthem "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" on the Israeli West Bank barrier.

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"They are running riot," said Waters of the Israeli government, "and it seems unlikely that running over there and playing the violin will have any lasting effect."

Waters currently serves as a juror on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which seeks to bring attention to how Western governments and companies assist Israel in what they perceive to be violations of international law. The singer plans to publish an open letter to his peers in the music industry asking them to join him in the BDS movement.

In the interview, the musician also spoke about reaching out to Stevie Wonder before he was set to play a gala dinner for the Israeli Defense Forces in December. "I wrote a letter to him saying that this would be like playing a police ball in Johannesburg the day after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960. It wouldn't be a great thing to do, particularly as he was meant to be a UN ambassador for peace," Waters explained. "It wasn't just me. Desmond Tutu also wrote a letter."

"To his eternal credit," Waters continued, "Stevie Wonder called [the gala's organizers] up and said 'I didn't quite get it' [and canceled the performance]." Waters went on to criticize the lack of media attention given to Wonder's cancellation, as well as discuss his own speech to the U.N. about the conflict last week.