Friday, May 2, 2014

Pink Floyd to the Rolling Stones: Don’t Be Another Brick in Israel’s Apartheid Wall

In response to the recent confirmation that the Rolling Stones will play a concert in June at Israel’s Ramat Gan Stadium, Roger Waters and Nick Mason – founding members of the legendary British band Pink Floyd, have written an open letter to their fellow rockers asking them to cancel the gig.

Published Thursday May 1 in Salon, Waters and Mason call upon the Rolling Stones to respect the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) – an international rights-based campaign that demands an end to Israeli occupation and colonization of all land seized in 1967 and the dismantling of the Separation Wall, which deliberately annexes Palestinian land, the recognition of full and fundamental equal rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the cessation of all discriminatory practices, and the acknowledgement and implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees to their homes.

The statement reads, in part:
With the recent news that The Rolling Stones will be playing their first-ever concert in Israel, and at what is a critical time in the global struggle for Palestinian freedom and equal rights, we, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd, have united in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), a growing, nonviolent global human rights movement initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 to end Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of basic Palestinian rights.
So, to the bands that intend to play Israel in 2014, we urge you to reconsider. Playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid; regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime.
We are nearing the tipping point in global awareness that the denial of Palestinian rights has had a devastating impact on generations of people, and that they need our support now more than ever. Consequently, we encourage you, fellow artists, to ask yourselves what you would do if forced to live under military rule and discriminatory laws for decades. If the answer is that you would resist until justice prevailed, we ask that you champion BDS as a nonviolent, collective means of securing a better future for all. If you wouldn’t play Sun City, back in the day, as you, the Rolling Stones did not, then don’t play Tel Aviv until such time as freedom reigns for all and equal rights is the law of the land.
Waters has long been an outspoken advocate of BDS. Last summer, he published a letter addressed to his “Colleagues in Rock and Roll,” urging them join him in endorsing “a cultural boycott on Israel” and “proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel.”

Numerous intellectuals, artists, writers, and musicians – including Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox, Carlos Santana, the Pixies, and Massive Attack – have already heeded the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Nevertheless, many musicians, like Elton John, Metallica, Leonard Cohen, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Paul McCartney, have ignored the call in recent years.

The Rolling Stones have yet to respond to Rogers and Mason’s letter.


Originally posted at Muftah.


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