Amnesty International Blasted by Jewish Human Rights Group for Selecting ‘Anti-Semite’ Roger Waters to Present Ambassador of Conscience Award
by Joshua Levitt
Amnesty International was blasted on Wednesday by Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center for selecting “anti-Semite” Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd bassist and a leader in efforts to culturally boycott Israel, to present it’s top humanitarian Ambassador of Conscience award.
“Once again, Amnesty International is signaling that its fight for human rights apparently does not extend to anti-Semitism,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement.
“Instead of denouncing Roger Waters for his bigotry, Amnesty International places him center-stage of their human rights celebration; the same Roger Waters who brazenly floats a pig with a Jewish Star of David at concerts across Europe, including Germany and Warsaw, and who is a leading campaigner promoting a ‘cultural boycott’ of Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy,” Rabbi Cooper added.
Roger Waters has also been criticized by other leading Jewish and secular human rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and a German Jewish group that organized a campaign to boycott Waters’s concert in Dusseldorf. Following Waters’s latest call for a “cultural boycott” of Israel, supermodel Bar Refaeli demanded that he desist from using her images in performances. But the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel he advocates recently claimed a victory when Afropop musician Salif Keita canceled a performance scheduled to take place at the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival, after his management and agents said they could not guarantee his safety in the face of “threats, blackmail attempts, intimidation, social media harassment and slander” from the “extremist” BDS movement.
Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Cooper said the selection of Waters to bestow the award reinforces Amnesty International’s reputation on anti-Semitism.
“In 2001, as one of the spokesmen for beleaguered Jewish groups at the ill-fated United Nations World Conference Against Racism, I experienced first hand Amnesty’s silence and indifference as 3,900 NGOs debased an important global conference into the worst public anti-Israel hate fest since the end of World War II,” Rabbi Cooper said. “Today, instead of commending Israel for its humanitarian treatment of injured Syrian combatants and civilians; instead on focusing on the gassing of Syrian children and mounting human rights abuses in the Arab world; Amnesty International has chosen to elevate someone who abuses Israel and insults Jewish values and symbols,” he said.
Amnesty International announced this week that Pakistani schoolgirl and education rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai and American singer, human rights and social justice activist Harry Belafonte would be awarded the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2013. The Ambassador of Conscience Award is Amnesty International’s highest honor, recognizing individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights through their life and by example.