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October 30, 2013 10:21 pm

What Mel Gibson and Roger Waters Have in Common

avatar by David Mackler

Email a copy of "What Mel Gibson and Roger Waters Have in Common" to a friend

Roger Waters on The Daily Show. Photo: Screenshot.

Last week, the Algemeiner published my “Open Letter” to Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart, asking that they not appear with Roger Waters at an upcoming NY benefit.  The scope of the public response has been remarkable, particularly after a petition began circulating with a simple request to Messrs. Seinfeld and Stewart: help us expose the BDS campaign as the fraudulent, anti-Semitic, hypocrisy that it is by refusing to be associated with Mr. Waters.  Within three days, there were signatories from 5 continents, 14 countries and 27 states.

Several years ago, Mel Gibson was virtually shunned from the entertainment industry for his overt anti-Semitism since, in the U.S. (unlike other western countries), such Jew-hatred and conspiracy theories remain passé.  However, many, including Mr. Waters, have received a pass by cloaking those same sentiments in what they deem, and sell as, “legitimate criticisms” of Israel.  Of course, such criticisms are fraught with double-standards and historical amnesia that are ignored not just by the movement’s purveyors, but by those mediums that report and publicize their baseless, misleading charges as well.

For Mr. Waters, that means continuing in his duplicitous campaign, slandering Israel with spurious charges of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” – practices that are the official policy of the same Palestinians he openly supports.  Such lies and paranoia reveal that, despite whatever public services Mr. Waters might otherwise be engaged, his only relation to a “Braveheart” is his deserving commendation of the “Mel Gibson Treatment”.

This might be a “fool’s errand”; however, the BDS movement has the potential to be as destructive to Israel as the Nuremberg laws were to Jews in 1930s Germany. The intentions behind both are similar and we cannot afford to be complicit by remaining silent. Previous generations missed their opportunities to confront lies that, after going unchallenged, were accepted as (illegitimate) fact.  Will we fall into the same traps of apathy and fear?  As Rachel in Toronto wrote when she signed the petition: “if we as Jews do not speak out against our enemies and the lies they perpetuate, then who will stand up for us?”  I couldn’t agree more…and if not now, when?

Please take a moment and sign the petition here.

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  • Linda R

    Will there ever be an end to bigotry? Guess not but reject any public forum acknowledging a speaker who chooses to demean others.

  • You article is highly misleading and disingenuous,David.

    1.BDS is not violent. It is civil society’s peaceful way to force Israel to abide by international law: No violation of Palestinians’ rights, no BDS

    2.BDS is not lying. Take a look at what Israel Defence Soldiers themselves have to say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXiMyQkCPfI&feature=youtu.be

    3.Advocacy of Palestine’s rights & opposition to Israel’s apartheid policies transcend race, religion and ideology; it’s a question of human decency.

    4.BDS is anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic: Not all Jews, neither all Israelis, are Zionists.

    5.Zionists live in a demented, inhumane & deluded world They cannot face the facts: the victim has become the victimiser.

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

    • Karen

      Dear Gart, I’m an Israeli who’s served in the Israeli military as did every single member of my family, all of whom happen to be associated with left wing government ideology. I have also lived abroad and studied abroad, and have had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand a plethora of differing stances and opinions regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. However, when I read the type of misguided comment such as you have taken the time to post I become saddened, because it does not come from a good place–of someone who really knows, or cares about the political situation in said region, but rather from a place of bias and hatred toward Jews. And I’ve heard the typical comeback from people like you who claim that Israelis can never accept criticism without turning it into an anti-Semitic affair–so not interested in that argument because true criticism of policy does not sound like that at all, it does not reek of anti-Semitic bias. There is nothing civil about Mr. Waters parading a blow-up pig with a Star of David stamped on it during his concert. How can anyone associate this with his desire to put an end to the Palestinian conflict? Because what I see is someone stating to his audience of admirers that all Jews are pigs. As to the group of Israeli soldiers who’ve decided to talk about their own experience in the West Bank, it’s nothing new, of course there is a lot of ugliness that happens during these military operations, but it happens on both sides my dear. I have lived it and I have experienced it, and I have lost family members because of random Palestinian violence towards the Israeli population. A relative of mine with his two kids were blown to pieces during Passover, years ago, when a suicide bomber entered a restaurant. And there are plenty more examples of where that come from. I’m sure that since you like to gather your information from Youtube that you have already come across the violent way in which some of these Palestinian movements have treated Israeli soldiers they had captured, and the way they have murdered Israeli civilians and of course the way in which they have treated their own–pretty shocking, but I do not use this as an excuse for doing same, although the Israeli military cannot be blamed for that same type of mentality or behavior at any given time. Now as to semantics, an anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite! Who the hell do you think the Zionists are? They are people such as myself, Jews obviously, who believe that they have the right to live in Israel. And what exactly is your argument against Jews living in their homeland, are you contesting the fact that we have no historical connection to the land, that Jews had never lived in Israel, that there was never a Jewish presence there? You do understand that Jews in that region of the world were continuously, for centuries, ruled by different sovereigns, and as a result of this and the strict edicts against Jews, if they were not expelled from the region then they fled for their lives, and yet still, Jews were able to maintain a continuous presence, regardless. Read some history, preferably unbiased history, and perhaps you will begin to understand both sides of the argument here. My grandfather was born in Yemen, and had to flee because of the oppressive way in which the Muslims had treated the Jews at that time and in that specific region of Yemen. Jews had no rights whatsoever: when a Muslim would walk towards them in the street they were forced to step off the pavement because they could never walk at the same level as Muslims, their homes had to be smaller than their Muslim neighbor’s; they could not bear arms, or even win a dispute against a Muslim or own any of their possessions etc., but I’m sure that you’re well versed in all aspect of Jewish history that you already know this. My other grandfather was born in Poland in 1901, and had to flee that country when he was enlisted to the Polish army where brutality against Jews was rampant. However, his life in Poland beforehand under the Pale of Settlement Rules was anything but civil. The rest of my family had perished it the Holocaust, so when Jews en mass, at the end of the 19th century, had for the first time in centuries banded together with the help of a new type of leadership–one that did not cower anymore to anyone, one that did not believe that Jews had to hide and to accept this inhumane fate–they returned to the land of their fathers. They had every right to do so, and frankly no other choice. In Palestine, a name that the Romans had given this region and which stuck for a long time, they actually coexisted with the Arab population, until the Arabs began to feel threatened and revolted against the Jews. My grandfather used to tell me how he and my grandmother would enjoy a cup of coffee with their Arab neighbors, but then one day, the people whom they thought were their friends turned their backs against them, and didn’t think twice about using violence against them either—there were many relatives who were slaughtered by Arabs at that time. It wasn’t the Jews who started revolting or fighting or making claims-they were happy to coexist, but rather the Arabs of the region who decided to put a stop to Jewish immigration, and the British who were eager to support the Muslims in order to promote their territorial interests in the region, but you know this of course. These were the very Arabs who had emigrated from all other neighboring countries by the way, not even native to the specific land we’re talking about either. But there is so much more to say, and my advice to you is to start educating yourself instead of coming out with statements that, really, sound positively ignorant at best. Oh, and I too am for total coexistence, but in no way do I believe that Jerusalem should be the Palestinian capital, and if you want to know the argument for this statement I will be happy to oblige. Let’s just say that Arabs pray towards Mecca and not Jerusalem, and Jerusalem, really built by King David, for Jews, not Arabs, and it’s been in our prayers and writings for centuries, not in Arab writings or prayers. It’s been the center of Jewish warship, always, and that’s an irrefutable fact! When Jordan conquered it from us in 1948, it remained neglected, so many synagogues desecrated, and the main call of the imam on Fridays came from Amman, Jordan, where they were trying to turn that city into their religious and spiritual center, in addition to Mecca of course. Not one Arab dignitary had set foot in Jerusalem while it was under Jordanian control, but when Israel had conquered it back in 1967, and for the first time Jews were allowed to return and pray at the Western Wall, the story changed overnight–all of a sudden it became the main focus and center of all their struggles . . .

    • Karen

      Just took a look at your Twitter and all was made clear; saw who you admire, who you follow, and who follows you. I can now easily understand how you view the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

  • Ilene G.

    Waters should be on his stage alone…without Jewish and non-Jew company. It’s abhorrent for a Jew to share his stage, and it is equally offensive for any human being to give him a nod. I don’t want to listen to Pink Floyd anymore, just as I won’t watch Mel Gibson movies.

  • Goudeket, J

    Never again a “Don’t buy from Jews”campaign!

  • Anti-Judaism is bigotry no matter what excuse or euphemism is employed by the bigot

  • herb glatter

    David – thank you for not being complacent and alerting decent people of the deranged animosity of Jews by far too many.

  • pinchas baram

    so nu, did seinfeld and stewart appear with the punk brit?
    probably, because their Jewish neshamas are pretty weak by any standard, but in any case you should let us know what happened.

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