Roger Waters Bon Jovi: Rips Bon Jovi

Published: October 3, 2015

Roger Waters Bon Jovi: Rips Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi will perform a concert tonight in Israel, and Roger Waters is disgusted by it. Waters, the founding member of the rock band Pink Floyd and a member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, has been vocal in recent years about Middle Eastern politics. In his letter to Bon Jovi, the 72-year-old Waters equates performing a concert in Israel as tantamount with showing support for the worst expressions of extremism.
Waters’ letter was sent to, and it contains a linked list of grievances that Bon Jovi now “stands shoulder to shoulder” with, such as the “settler who burned the baby,” the “bulldozer driver who crushed Rachel Corrie,” and the “soldier who shot the soccer player’s feet to bits.”

“Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel,” Waters’ letter reads.

“Having read Jon’s comments last week in Yedioth Ahronoth, I won’t waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians. So the die is cast, you are determined to proceed with your gig in Tel Aviv on October 3. You are making your stand.”

Waters referred to a recent interview Bon Jovi did with Israeli magazine Yediot. In it, Bon Jovi said he “always heard what a wonderful place Israel is – the birthplace of all religions. I have been everywhere and Israel was a place that I’ve always wanted to visit, but it never worked out. This time I insisted that Israel must be on our list and it happened.”

Waters then goes on to tell Bon Jovi that he had a “chance to stand on the side of justice,” and lists again a number of news items reporting on Palestinians who stood up against the Israeli government. Waters closes his letter by writing: “The dead can’t remind you of the crimes you’ve ignored. But, lest we forget, ‘To stand by silent and indifferent is the greatest crime of all.'”

His parting line was a quote from Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born Jewish writer and political activist who has written extensively about his time spent as a prisoner in Hitler’s concentration camps.

Waters, who grew up in post-war England and whose father was killed fighting German soldiers in World War II, joined the BDS movement in 2011. Shortly before then, Roger opposed the Israeli West Bank barrier, calling it an “obscenity [that] should be torn down,” and he supported the 2009 Gaza Freedom March.

The BDS movement is a global campaign, self described as “attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the stated goals of the movement.” Those goals are listed as: “The end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.”

Adds the Asbury Park Press: “The Bon Jovi Saturday, Oct. 3 show in Israel has a growing list of detractors. First, a group called the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which refers to the unrest between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples as ‘colonial oppression,’ called in July for a boycott of the show. Now, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is calling for Bon Jovi to cancel the show in an open letter posted on on Friday, Oct. 2.”

The BDS movement has made a number of performers alter their concert plans. According to the APP, Lauryn Hill canceled an Israeli concert in May after receiving pressure from BDS members, and over 700 British artists – including Waters, Brian Eno and Richard Ashcroft – have all pledged not to “engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel.”


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