Israel Resource Review 23rd June, 2006


Pink Flawed or Pink Fraud? How The Pink Floyd Concert Deteroriated into an Israel Bash Event
David Bedein

Among the thousands of people who crowded the Neveh Shalom?s wide open fields to hear Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, you could discern hundreds of expat Americans in their forties, fifties and sixties. Some of them were newly observant Orthodox Jews, with beards and sidelocks. They swayed to the tunes of a singer who strummed out the tunes that once evoked hope for a better future for all. My son Noam, just back from 13 months in Asia after his Israeli army service, said after the concert that Waters conveys a message that all people can relate to.

Yet Waters laced his message with arsenic. As he arrived in Israel, Waters told an Israel rock radio station that the seminal experience for him learning about peace occurred when he visited Beirut as a young man, where he met "idealistic" Palestinians. For whatever reason, he chose not to tell his starry-eyed interviewer that he was in Beirut when it was the terror capital of the Middle East, from where Arafat and his merry men dispatched hundreds of murder squads into Israel from the North, until Israel?s actions in Lebanon in the early 1980s put a stop to that. Waters' interviewer was too enthralled with interviewing a rock star to follow up with any questions about that sort of thing.

And just hours before his concert, there he was, Roger Waters, spray painting the seperation barrier near Jerusalem, preceding the call from his concert podium for Jews and Arabs to tear down these vestiges of "apartheid," in his words. As if Israel was building a fence for racial reasons, and is if Israel had not suffered 28,000 terror attacks between 2000 and 2005.

Most Israelis who poured out by the thousands to hear Waters had no idea why Neveh Shalom was chosen. The fairgrounds in Tel Aviv or the open air theater on the edge of the old city in Jerusalem had been rejected.

The agents of Roger Waters chose Neveh Shalom instead, a place where Jews and Arabs are neighbors. Yet how is Neveh Shalom different from other places in Israel were Jews and Arabs live in peace as neighbors -- Acre, Jaffa, Ramle, Lod and Jerusalem? Well, on a press tour just three years ago, the foreign media based in the middle east were surprised to learn that this is the only place in Israel where no Israeli flags are displayed and where the celebration of Israeli Independence Day is forbidden.

As Prof. Edward Alexander wrote about Neveh Shalom in the Middle East Quarterly in December 1998, entitled "An Exercise in Jewish Self-Debasement," Neveh Shalom is a place where Jews sacrifice their pride and identity as Jews in favor of "universalism", and, as Alexander pointed out, a place where Israeli Arabs can openly express their "understanding" of Arab terrorism.

We live in an era where many young people, even in Israel, can be tempted to forget reality and to "understand" terrorism. In the words of Israeli left wing editorial writer, Ben Dror Yemini, writing in the Maariv newspaper on the morning after the Pink Floyd concert: "Very few of the people who went to Roger Waters' show thought that they were attending a political demonstration. But Waters came to demonstrate."

Yemini noted that "instead of demonstrating against genocide in Sudan, or arrests in Syria, or the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, Waters demonstrated against Israel, canceling his appearance here. His Majesty agreed to hold it only on condition that it take place in a "politically correct" location, only on condition that the show become a demonstration "against 'the Wall'."

Yemini asked the rhetorical questions: "So who made you boss, Mr. Waters? Who are you to preach to us against the separation fence? What do you know about the hundreds of Israelis whose blood was spilled? What do you know about an entire nation that has to protect itself? What do you know about the hundreds of suicide bombers who came here not to kill the occupation, but to kill Jews?"

Yemini answered his own question with a simple answer: "That's just it. You haven't the slightest clue. And if you do, then you would rather bury your head in the sand, like your bleeding-heart colleagues in the West. The main thing is to spout slogans "against fences" . . . . So thank you for the cool show. But allow us to reject your preaching with scorn."

What was that line? "We don't need no education."

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