Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters, facing a campaign to deplatform him from SXSW after B’nai B’rith got his ads pulled from Major League Baseball, told RT the accusations of anti-Semitism are a distraction from human rights.
The musician and activist slammed the campaign by the pro-Israel activist group B’nai B’rith to smear him as an anti-Semite and have him removed from the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas, where he is scheduled to give the keynote speech to an audience of hundreds of thousands of people.
In an interview with RT, Waters explained that the spurious anti-Semitism accusations are part of a deliberate and massive campaign to distract from Israeli human rights abuses.
“It muddies the waters over one very specific issue, which is the issue of the settler-colonial occupation of the land of Palestine by Israeli armed forces… human rights should be something that is fundamental, that applies to all people equally,” Waters said. “Clearly the Israel-Palestine issue is a glaring example of somewhere where some people have rights and some people don’t.”
The reason [the anti-Semitism accusations are] brought up so often is so that we will not address the fundamental issue of whether what I say is true or not.
Waters also referred to the sinister effort by “nebulous NGO” the International Holocaust Remembrance Association to actually redefine the word “anti-Semitism,” expanding the meaning of the word to include “any criticism of the policies both domestic and foreign of the state of Israel as being inherently anti-Semitic.”
While the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement Waters supports has falsely been equated with anti-Semitism by the deep-pocketed Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, a government agency devoted specifically to neutralizing the movement, he explained that BDS has “consistently, constantly and unequivocally stated that it is against all forms of ‘isms’” – including, but not limited to, anti-Semitism.
Speaking to his critics in the Israel lobby, Waters admonished them for hiding behind the Jewish people, not all of whom support the policies of Tel Aviv.
“You need to come up with a defense for your side of the argument – for whether it is correct or not for the Israeli government to be operating a system of apartheid in the country that used to be called Palestine.”
We need to be able to look at these things without slinging mud and calling people names that don’t fit.
B’nai B’rith complained last month when Major League Baseball aired ads for Waters’ upcoming tour, claiming the rock legend is an “avowed antisemite” whose statements about Israel “far exceed the boundaries of civil discourse.”
The group’s complaint to SXSW was similarly-worded, calling it “unconscionable” that he would “be given any platform to air his antisemitic views.”
The musician’s live performances also haven’t been spared controversy, with critics assailing the “theatrics” employed during some shows – for example, a giant inflatable pig that floats over the audience, featuring a variety of symbols including the Star of David, which Waters says has been misconstrued as ‘proof’ of his anti-Semitism time and again.
“I covered this pig with maybe 20 symbols… of different organizations that I felt were a malign influence,” he said. “The Star of David represents the State of Israel in this thinking… I also had a crucifix, no Christian association has come up to me and said: ‘Oh my god, you’re anti-Christian!’”
“There was also a dollar sign, but nobody’s come to me from the Federal Reserve or the treasury saying ‘How dare you attack the currency of the United States of America.’”
While insisting he has no regrets about the prop, Waters decided to pull the star from the pig in 2013 over repeated complaints, though it appears to have done him little good, as critics are “still bleating and whining” about it, he said.