An Open Letter to Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart: Boycott Roger Waters
Dear Messrs. Seinfeld and Stewart:
As a fan, it saddens me to have to contact you on such an occasion; however, it recently came to my attention that you will both be performing at the Stand Up For Heroes benefit in New York City next month with Roger Waters.
While I applaud your devotion to the Bob Woodruff Foundation (from all appearances a worthy organization), I am extremely disappointed that you would participate in an event that features an anti-Zionist, anti-Semite such as Mr. Waters.
Roger Waters is a staunch advocate of boycotts against Israel, and he has continuously disparaged, degraded, and slandered both Jews and Israel in furtherance of his cause. It is time that educated Jewish celebrities such as you abandon complacency, and begin to speak up.
Over the last few years, Mr. Waters has increased his antagonism and outright hostility toward both Israel and global Jewry. He has continued to support a divestment movement, which echoes the Nuremberg Laws by selectively boycotting Israeli-made (read: Jewish) products.
The organizations involved do not employ such tactics on true human rights abusers such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, China, and others, but instead single-out the Jewish state for their form of selective justice. Moreover, although Mr. Waters believes that he “don’t need no education,” his selective use of facts – or his wanton creation of them – has perpetuated the historical lies that have haunted Jews for thousands of years.
For instance, he claims that Israel is an Apartheid state, even though all of its citizens enjoy the same rights, enabling Arab-Israelis to sit on the Supreme Court, hold ministerial offices in the government, and serve in the Knesset. Of course, Waters makes these statements while championing a Palestinian cause that considers it a capital offense to sell land to Jews and is led by a president who openly insists that his future Palestinian state be judenrein.
To top it all off, his recent concerts have featured an inflatable pig adorned with dollar signs, the hammer and sickle, swastikas, and Stars of David. This is no political argument, nor is it a misunderstanding of history or current events; this is a caricature that would make Joseph Goebbels proud, and is Jew-hatred at its very core.
For two millennia, Jews were forced to accept the libels of those infected by prejudice and hatred. But with the birth of a Jewish State, we as a people were finally able to defend ourselves knowing we could find sanctuary in our biblical homeland. Yet many of Mr. Waters’ malicious charges go unnoticed or unchallenged in the mainstream media, leaving the false impression that they are at most true, or, at the very least, condoned. Now, with global anti-Semitism at levels unseen since the fall of the Third Reich, Jewish public figures need to display the conviction and fortitude necessary to address and rebuke these mendacious claims.
Mr. Stewart, we share a similar genealogy with families that left the shtetls of Eastern Europe where they undoubtedly were subjected to pogroms and rampant anti-Semitism. And I know that, even growing up in New Jersey, you were subjected to anti-Semitic bullying.
Mr. Seinfeld, you not only share the same European background, but also trace your roots to Syria where a proud, ancient Jewish community has been destroyed and eradicated.
I bring this up, gentlemen, not as an attempt to earn your sympathies or to generate guilt, but rather to contextualize the importance of seizing the opportunity to make a statement.
I know that my grandparents would never have shared a stage with the likes of Henry Ford or Charles Lindbergh, and, to be candid, Mr. Waters’ statements are no less defaming or untrue. I believe that your inaction – i.e sharing a bill with Roger Waters – sends a chilling message to Israelis, Jews, and the world at large that the one Jewish State can be minimized, ostracized and, according to Mr. Waters’ BDS brethren, undone. It is bad enough that a stage has been provided for him; it is infinitely worse that Jews would help him fill the seats.
Is Israel perfect? Of course not. But good luck finding a nation that tries harder to achieve that perfection (or that gets closer to it). Even though they are a fraction of one percent of the global population, the Israelis are often the first responders to any global tragedy and are responsible for innovations that are saving and improving lives every day. They do this, of course, under constant threat of annihilation, surrounded by genocidal enemies.
Those people, the ones who constantly try to better the world while most of the world tries to rid it of them, THOSE are the heroes. Isn’t it time that we “stand up” for them? At the very least, we as Jews should be acutely sensitive to the repercussions of remaining silent, particularly in response to modern day blood libels. I’m doing my part, and I challenge you to do the same.
To further his agenda, Mr. Waters and his ilk have managed to successfully convince several artists to boycott Israel, although many have snubbed his hateful overtures. I truly believe that a refusal to be associated with him is not only an appropriate response, but will also be a loud voice of dissent against his venomous attacks and bigoted cause.
I appreciate your consideration, and sincerely hope that you will echo the spirit of the event by “Stand(ing) up for Heroes” or, in this case, becoming heroes yourselves.