Roger Waters to Play Israel Despite Protests
Mon, 13 Mar 2006 13:29:33
Encouraged by the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, iconic Pink Floyd singer-bassist Roger Waters has agreed to come to Tel Aviv this year for a concert on June 22. Waters has been a critic of the barricades that Israelis have erected as part of their occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, so the announcement came as a surprise to some in the Middle East -- and a disappointment to some Palestinians who saw Waters as a high-profile ally.
“How can someone who wants to look like a leftist in the world -- fighting against the Berlin Wall, for open borders, and for love between people -- come to Israel while they are still building their wall and hold a musical event?” asked Sliman Manour of the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art.
A group of Palestinian artists, including Manour, sent a letter to Waters asking him to reconsider the booking -- or at least consider adding another show for Palestinians. It is unlikely, however, that Waters will back out. In a piece printed in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Waters noted that he played shows in the United Kingdom despite disapproving of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s foreign policy.
“[Waters’] message is about peace and coexistence, that walls should be replaced by bridges,” enthused concert promoter Shuki Weiss. For actual bridge builders in the West Bank, unfortunately, business is pretty scarce; current construction projects mostly include fences and forbidding chunks of concrete.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff