The former lead singer of the rock band Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, is the latest artist to voice support for the boycott of Israel, in an effort to pressure the state to end its occupation of Palestinian land, and comply with international law and signed agreements.Waters’ decision comes a week after American pop legend Pete Seeger announced his support for the boycott. Hundreds of artists, musicians and actors have boycotted Israel in support of a 2005 call by hundreds of Palestinian organizations for an ‘Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel’, similar to the boycott of apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.
Israeli artists and actors have also joined the boycott, refusing to perform in Israeli settlements constructed on Palestinian land in violation of international law. And a number of Israeli academics have urged their colleagues abroad to boycott Israel and refuse to come to Israel until the Israeli government complies with its obligations under international law.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement picked up steam after the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008-9, which left over 1,400 Palestinians and 14 Israelis dead. Since that time, activists around the world have launched campaigns to try to pressure Israel economically and politically to change its policies toward the Palestinians, and adhere with signed agreements.
Roger Waters’ decision to join the boycott comes after he resisted a campaign in 2005 to pressure him to not perform in Israel. During that visit, however, he also spent time in the West Bank, and said that he was profoundly moved by the conditions he witnessed there. He painted on the Israeli Annexation Wall in Bethlehem a famous lyric from Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ (a reference to the Berlin Wall): ‘We don’t need no thought control’.
In his letter, released Sunday, supporting the boycott, Waters wrote that in his view, ‘the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.’