Roger Waters: Israel Is a ‘Racist Apartheid Regime’

By James Beattie | December 16, 2013 | 1:26pm EST

Roger Waters, formerly of 1970s rock giant Pink Floyd, told Counterpunch Magazine in an interview earlier this month that he maintains a cultural boycott of Israel because of their government’s “ethnic cleansing” and is a “racist apartheid ... regime.”

Waters is a big proponent for pro-Palestinian causes. The man best known for Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall spoke last year at the United Nations General Assembly as Palestinians won recognition from the world body as a non-observer state.

In an interview printed Dec. 6, Waters spoke with Frank Barat of Counterpunch magazine about his latest tour and his cultural boycott of his Israel, where he calls the Israeli government a “racist apartheid... regime” and said that the “The Jewish lobby” in the music industry is the reason that other like-minded people are not willing to speak up.

“The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable. So for an artist to go and play in a country that occupies other people’s land and oppresses them the way Israel does, is plain wrong.”

Waters continued:

“[N]o Israeli government has been serious about creating a Palestinian state since 1948. They’ve always had the Ben Gurion agenda of kicking all the Arabs out of the country and becoming greater Israel. They tell a lie as part of their propaganda machinery whilst doing the other thing, but they have been doing it so obviously in the last 10 years. For instance, even after when Obama went to Cairo and made that speech about Arabs and the Israelis, everybody was like, ‘Oh, this is a step in a new direction at least.’ But as soon as he visited Israel, they said. ‘Oh by the way, we are building another 1200 settlements.’ Exactly the same when Kerry went last year saying, ‘Oh I am going to try to get the sides together and talk peace.’ Netanhayu said, ‘F*** you.’”

“It is a very complicated situation, which is why you and I and all the other people in the world who care about their brothers and sisters and not just about the people of our own faith, our own color, our own race or our own whatever, have to stand in solidarity shoulder to shoulder. This has been a very hard sell particularly where I live in the United States of America. The Jewish lobby is extraordinary powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry and in rock ‘n roll as they say.

“I promise you, naming no names, I’ve spoken to people who are terrified that if they stand shoulder to shoulder with me they are going to get f***ed. They have said to me: ‘Aren’t you worried for your life?’ and I go ‘No, I’m not.’ A few years ago, I was touring, and 9/11 happened in the middle of the tour,l and two or three people in my band who happened to be United States citizens wouldn’t come on the next leg of the tour. I said ‘Why not? Don’t you like the music anymore?’ and they replied ‘No, we love the music, but we are Americans, and it’s too dangerous for us to travel abroad. They are trying to kill us,’ and I thought ‘Wow!’” added Waters.

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