In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) blasted the former Pink Floyd bassist, who is now nearly as famous for his promotion of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as he is for his music.
Waters — according to the statement, signed by Wiesenthal Center dean and founder Rabbi Marvin Hier and associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper — is an “entertainer who hates the Jewish State of Israel.”
The group was referring to Waters’ repeated attempts to pressure fellow artists into refusing to perform in Israel, or into canceling already booked gigs in the Holy Land. Among his targets were Jewish reggae star Matisyahu and Jon Bon Jovi.
The SWC statement stressed that the BDS movement has “never helped a single Palestinian,” and only aims “to demonize and denigrate the lone democracy in the Middle East,” noting that Israelis across the political spectrum have condemned Waters’ support for the boycott of the Jewish state.
SWC Government Affairs Director Mark Weitzman added that Waters’ commitment to freedom of expression is mired in hypocrisy, since he considers it a “crime” to perform for ethnically and religiously mixed crowds in the Israel and opposes “anyone who wants to share their talents with the people of Israel.”
The SWC, therefore, called on New Yorkers “to give Roger Waters the reception he deserves: an empty hall.”
According to the Southampton Patch On Wednesday, the Bay Street Theater announced that anyone who wishes to boycott his sold-out performance will be given a refund.
Bay Street Executive Director Tracy Mitchell told 27east, a site calling itself “Your connection to the Hamptons,” that the theater is “committed to the right to free speech but also respects the rights of others who are offended by Mr. Waters’s scheduled show.”