Roger Waters Says Holocaust Guilt Stops Criticism of Israel, Brian Eno Blames Jewish State for Antisemitism on Panel
In a livestream panel discussion on Monday, British musicians Roger Waters and Brian Eno promoted the anti-Israel BDS movement and accused the Jewish state of “inspiring” antisemitism.
Eno and Waters engaged in a virtual conversation as part of the YouTube series “Let’s Talk It Over,” hosted by Frank Barat.
Eno, the second panelist to speak, began by claiming that Israel practices apartheid, and blamed its government for the spread of prejudice against Jews.
“We have a right to say that this is not an issue to do with being Jewish or anything like that. It’s an issue of human rights,” he said.
“If anything is to inspire antisemitism, it’s this type of behavior by the Israeli government,” he told viewers. “We are being called the enemy because we question what is happening in Palestine. That’s all you have to do to be called antisemitic.”
Waters followed Eno by slamming what he called the “antisemitic smear sword wielded at the behest of the Israeli government” against former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been criticized by British Jewish and suspended by the party for promoting antisemitism.
Earlier in the panel discussion, the former Pink Floyd frontman focused on the UK, France and US, claiming that they refuse to call Israel an “apartheid” state because it’s not economically and politically “convenient.” He also suggested that it’s impossible to speak the “truth” because of Holocaust guilt.
“Also we walk around with the enormous burden of the Holocaust on our shoulders,” Rogers continued to say, “and it makes it impossible for us to speak the truth about Israel because we’re not allowed to, because we carry an enormous burden of guilt. So that’s why we don’t … There’s no freedom of speech in England. In England people are not allowed to speak about Israel.”
The musician also spoke about the “hugely encouraging” success of the BDS movement, especially on college campuses, and said that anti-Israel activists have come a long way in being able to say the word “apartheid” more freely. He encouraged soccer teams and the sport’s major organizations to boycott Israel.
“I don’t think it’s very far down the line that we’re going to stop playing soccer with Israel,” he said. “Every Saturday or Sunday, every player in the football league takes a knee … and it was in support of Black Lives Matter and now they’ve said it’s against racism. When you see anybody take a knee, they are taking a knee against Israeli apartheid and the sooner we ramp that home through UEFA and FIFA and the rest and stop playing soccer with them, the better.”
Waters has repeatedly been denounced by leading Jewish groups for his antisemitic rhetoric. In June 2020, his comments that the US government was controlled by a wealthy Jewish “puppet master” were slammed as “the kind of intolerance that deserves zero tolerance” by Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
Monday’s episode of the series was titled “Israeli Apartheid” and also featured the British-Israeli founder of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, Daniel Machover, and Diala Shamas, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. It was watched live by over 6,000 people.