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February 22, 2015 3:15 pm

Alan Parsons Rejects Roger Waters’ Anti-Israel Riff

avatar by Paul Miller

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Alan Parsons challenged Roger Walters' motives for asking him to reconsider his concert in Israel. Parsons also took the BDS movement to task for "censorship." Photo: Creative Community for Peace.

The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is front and center in an ongoing feud between progressive rock music pioneer Alan Parsons and former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters.

In a Feb. 7th Facebook posting, Waters published a letter he sent Parsons “a few weeks ago,” asking the ten-time Grammy nominee to “reconsider” his February 10 performance in Tel Aviv. Respectively declining the request, Parsons wrote, “Music knows no borders, and neither do I.”

Waters, not satisfied with Parsons’ decision, took to Facebook again, publishing a second letter he sent, which according to Parsons is a violation of his “clearly stated desire that the whole matter of his ‘problem’ with my concert in Israel should remain private between the two of us.”

It was not until Waters took the matter public that Parsons decided to publish his response.

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Lana Melman, Director of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), arranged an exclusive interview with Parsons and his band’s Israeli bassist, Guy Erez. The conversation, right before their Tel-Aviv performance, challenged Waters’ motives and took the BDS movement to task for “censorship.”

CCFP: Alan, you mentioned bringing people together. And as you for sure know now, there’s the cultural boycott movement which basically wants two main things: to prevent international artists like you [Alan] from coming to Israel and to prevent Israeli artists like you [Guy] from performing abroad. Do you guys see this as a form of censorship at all? And do you think it can have any particular impact on the artistic community?

Parsons: It’s totally censorship, yeah. I mean, people who follow it would be considered succumbing to censorship. But we didn’t. We said we want to do this.

CCFP: You had a lot of pressure. And not even just from activists but also from your fellow musician Roger Waters. How did it feel to be getting that pressure onto yourself and why was it important for you to not listen and to come here?

Parsons: Well, Guy would have killed me to start with.

Erez: If he doesn’t come and visit my country, we have a problem.

Parsons: No, the language of music has nothing to do with the language of politics. I don’t think…  I have no aspiration towards political statements, contrary to what certain musicians do. I don’t think any of the band does, particularly.

Erez, a native Israeli who was discriminated against in the past at an undisclosed European venue, questioned Waters’ motives.

“Instead of saying don’t go here and there and play, if Roger Waters really wanted to be a peaceful person, why won’t you take a group of Israeli kids and Palestinian kids and make a camp of making music together. Use the power of music to put people together. But don’t just say ‘I’m taking a side, don’t share music with the Israeli people,” Erez said. “Why do the Israeli people or any other people have to get punished even though let’s say you disagree with their government? It’s just something I don’t understand how he even puts it together.”

Waters’ past anti-Israel rhetoric, deemed antisemitic by the Anti-Defamation League, claims Israel is a “racist apartheid regime” that practices “ethnic cleansing” and compares Jews to Nazi collaborators.

Waters has had limited success in getting prominent musicians to boycott the Jewish State.

Last year the Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, and Lady Gaga performed in Israel. Paul McCartney, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Eyed Peas, and Metallica have also performed in the Jewish State in recent memory.

Hard rock icon KISS has already announced they will perform in Tel Aviv this summer, as has arguably the most popular artist in the world, Taylor Swift.

Waters is currently promoting his support for a new anti-Israel campaign, Artists for Palestine UK, that calls for “a cultural boycott of Israel.” The campaign claims to have nearly 1,000 signatories.

CCFP has an ongoing anti-boycott petition that is closing in on 29,000 signatures.

Paul Miller is Executive Director of the Salomon Center. Follow him @pauliespoint.

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  • Rodolfo Plata Lopez

    ES BUENO QUE SE LEGISLE PARA CRIMINALIZAR A LOS QUE CRITICAN LA CONDUCTA CRIMINAL Y GENOCIDA DEL ESTADO TERRORISTA DE ISRAEL, YA QUE DE NADA SIRVE LA CRITICA SIN LA ACCIÓN; O SEA, BASTA DE CRITICA, ES HORA DE LEVANTARSE EN ARMAS Y COMBATIR AL LOBBY JUDÍO Y EN JUICIAR POR CRIMEN DE LESA PATRIA, A LOS SENADORES Y REPRESENTANTES QUE HA SAQUEADO, SOMETIDO Y TRAICIONADO A EEUU A CAMBIO DEL VOTO JUDÍO Y EL FINANCIAMIENTO DE SUS CAMPAÑAS ELECTORALES, ABROGANDO LA SOBERANIA DE EEUU, Y CONVIRTIENDO A NORTEAMÉRICA EN UNA COLONIA DEL GOBIERNO MUNDIAL SIONISTA

    • alan mauser

      HAY RODOLFITO QUE IGNORANTE ERES TE APUESTO QUE NO HAS LEIDO UN SOLO LIBRO EN TU VIDA.
      VETE A ESTUDIAR ,TE RECOMIENDO LA HISTORIA DEL PUEBLO DE ISRAEL.
      Y LA HISTORIA DE ESTADOS UNIDOS,
      SOLO PARA TU CONOCIMIENTO;
      POBLACION TOTAL EN ESTADOS UNIDOS 320,000 000
      POBLACION DE JUDIOS EN ESTADOS UNIDOS 5 MILLONES TOMA TUS CONCLUSIONES (SI TUVIERAS CEREBRO POR SUPUESTO)

  • Isaac Waterman

    ROGER WATERS HAS NO BRAINS JUST WATER IN HIS HEAD.

  • Jens Klemm

    Roger Waters is a stubit racist.Thank you Alan for your keep.

  • Cesar Lopez

    Lets boicot Roger Waters performances for this year, just to teach him a lesson with a tablespoon of his own medicine. I had a different opinión about the peace & love group Pink Floyd’s leader. I guess I was wrong. Hey, I’m either a Judio, nor a Palestino, but Roger is completely wrong.

  • Dante

    It’s Waters who is racist, since antisemitism is considered a kind of racism.

    • GetjewsoutofUSA

      Most “jews” in israel are not semites so the whole “antisemitism” trick really doesn’t work anymore!!

    • Weary

      Except that he’s not being antisematic, because as any informed person can tell you, criticising the israeli government is not antisematism. It’s absolutely unrelated. That’s as obvious as it is true.
      You’d be hard pressed to find an informed, free thinking person who didn’t condemn the Israeli government’s behavior – opportunistic, dishonest and murderous as it is.

  • Roger Waters’ father died at Anzio trying liberate Europe and its Jews from Hitler. His son is a total disgrace to his father’s memory.

  • Mike

    If it were not for Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon would not have been the ground breaking record that it was. Alan Parsons was the brilliant engineer who mixed that album. Roger Waters owes him respect and should not embarrass him publicly. I applaud Mr. Parson’s commitment to remaining non political and open minded. I own some of his music and it is great. I’m sure the Israeli public will receive him very warmly.

  • John Donley

    Music knows no borders unless blocked by an authoritative government or entity. Musicians can influence political outcomes more by the presence of their work than by its absence. If Roger Waters’ wants his music to speak for him, let him compose a relevant piece which might affect the hearts and minds of those involved in this conflict. AT 71 he seems to have nothing left but hot air and the legacy of past works, the last of which was thirty years ago. He has cashed in on tours of “The Wall” to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars even though he plagarized verse to fill in his lyrics and has been lying about it ever since. As the occupant of a glass house he should be the last to cast a stone in a fit of moral indignation.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Israel has no need for polluted Water such as Allan.

    Israel can produce plenty of its own pure water.

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