Roger Waters Slams Bon Jovi Over Israel Concert in Open Letter

"You stand shoulder to shoulder/With the settler who burned the baby," Pink Floyd co-founder writes

Roger Waters penned a long open letter to Bon Jovi, slamming the group ahead of their October 3rd concert in Tel Aviv Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty, Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic/Getty

Roger Waters penned a long open letter to Bon Jovi slamming the group ahead of their October 3rd concert in Tel Aviv. The former Pink Floyd bassist, long an opponent of Israel's stance toward Palestine, accused Jon Bon Jovi and his band mates of standing "shoulder to shoulder" with Israel before listing many of the casualties suffered by the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government in an op-ed for Salon. Waters has routinely called on his fellow artists to boycott performing in Israel.

"Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel," Waters wrote. "Having read Jon's comments last week in Yedioth Ahronoth, I won't waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians." 

In an interview with Israeli magazine Yediot this week, Bon Jovi said he "always heard what a wonderful place Israel is – the birthplace of all religions. I have been everywhere and Israel was a place that I’ve always wanted to visit, but it never worked out. This time I insisted that Israel must be on our list and it happened!"

A representative for Bon Jovi declined to comment.

In the open letter, Waters references "the soldier who shot the soccer player’s feet to bits," "the prisoner who fasted for 266 days until freedom" and "the Minister of Justice who called for genocide," providing links to each example he lists. In February, Waters similarly called out Alan Parsons – the engineer on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon –for scheduling an Israel concert with the Alan Parsons Project.

Read Waters' entire letter to Bon Jovi below:

Dear Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan and Tico Torres,

Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel. Having read Jon's comments last week in Yedioth Ahronoth, I won't waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

So the die is cast, you are determined to proceed with your gig in Tel Aviv on October 3. You are making your stand.

You stand shoulder to shoulder

With the settler who burned the baby

With the bulldozer driver who crushed Rachel Corrie

With the soldier who shot the soccer player’s feet to bits

With the sailor who shelled the boys on the beach

With the sniper who killed the kid in the green shirt

And the one who emptied his clip into the 13-year-old girl

And the Minister of Justice who called for genocide

You had a chance to stand

On the side of justice

With the pilot who refused to bomb refugee camps

With the teenager who chose eight prison terms over army service

With the prisoner who fasted for 266 days until freedom

With the doctor banned from entry for saving lives

With the farmer who was cut down marching to the wall

With the legless child growing up in the rubble

And the 550 others who won’t grow up at all

Because of the missiles and tank shells and bullets we sent

The dead can't remind you of the crimes you've ignored. But, lest we forget, "To stand by silent and indifferent is the greatest crime of all."

Roger Waters