Pink Floyd co-founder, lyricist and principle composer Roger Waters has taken to social media to criticise a major Pink Floyd tribute band that have three performances scheduled in Israel. Among the many political causes for which Waters advocates, supporting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) which calls for a commercial, artistic, athletic and academic of Israel until justice for Palestine is secured, is one of the most prominent. When it became known to Waters that a band called UK Pink Floyd Experience is slated to break the BDS boycott and perform in Israel, he wrote the following on his social media accounts:
“I am aghast to see you have plans to perform in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Be’er Sheba on 4th 5th 6th January. Please don’t do it.
To sing my songs in front of segregated audiences in Israel, and contribute to the cultural whitewashing of the racist and apartheid government of that country, would be an act of unconscionable malice and disrespect.
David Power, Bobby Harrison, Mike Bollard, Rick Benbow, Francesco Borrelli….
Have you never actually listened to the work that you perform to make a living?
The people you intend to entertain are executing their neighbor’s children, shooting them down in cold blood every day.
In the name of everything human, PLEASE hear my plea and cancel today”.
While Waters is known for drafting open letters to musicians and other artists encouraging them to join the artistic boycott of Israel which is itself modelled on the 1980s era artistic boycott of Apartheid South Africa, his latest plea directed toward UK Pink Floyd Experience is particularly personal. As Waters’s lyrics have long been consistent with his political positions, the musician and poet clearly finds it unconscionable that a band that has cultivated its own fame by performing his music and words should do so in a place where Waters himself refuses to perform.
UK Pink Floyd Experience have not publicly responded to Waters as of 12.00 GMT on the 8th of December. Likewise, tickets for the concerts in Israel are still being sold through the band’s official website. Perhaps ironically, the last direct mention of Waters himself from the tribute band’s Twitter is a birthday greeting from September the 6th:
Happy 75th Birthday to the musical genius @rogerwaters! 🎂🎈🎉
Want to experience the magic of #PinkFloyd? Don't miss your chance to see us on our UK tour!
— UKPFE (@UKPFE) September 6, 2018
Whatever one’s views might be regarding BDS and of course BDS arouses strong views both for and against, the idea of performing someone’s music in a place where the living composer refuses to perform it for politician reasons, stinks of the lowest form of crass economic exploitation. As there would be no UK Pink Floyd Experience without Roger Waters’s artistic gifts, even if the members of the tribute band do not share Waters’s views on BDS, out of respect for the founding father of their own musical pursuits, they ought to respect his wishes on purely personal grounds if not on ethical ones.
A note from Roger to UK Pink Floyd Experience @UKPFE :
I am aghast to see you have plans to perform in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Be’er Sheba on 4th 5th 6th January. Please don’t do it.
To sing my songs in front of segregated audiences in Israel…
— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) December 7, 2018