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“Amplify your voice for justice”: Roger Waters and prominent artists call for boycott of Israel in new video

posted on: Nov 27, 2015

“How can I perform in Israel when millions of Palestinians cannot attend?” asks renowned musician Roger Waters in a new video.

The video, released by Adalah-N.Y.: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, features influential New York City-based artists calling on other cultural workers to pledge their support for the boycott of Israel, in protest of the country’s illegal 48-year occupation of the Palestinian territories and constant human rights abuses against indigenous Palestinians.

“How can I play in Israel knowing that the government will use my show to whitewash its crimes?” inquires musician Kyp Malone, of the band TV on the Radio.

Waters and Malone are joined by other prominent artists, including Kathleen Chalfant, a Tony-nominated stage and television actress; Molly Crabapple, an artist and writer; Tunde Adebimpe, singer of TV on the Radio; Kool A.D., a rapper formerly of the group Das Racist; Tamar-kali, a rock musician; and Swoon, a visual artist.

“Cultural boycott is an ethical rights-based tactic with historical precedent,” explains Swoon in the video. Such a boycott played an important role in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in a 2010 letter, “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”

Just two days after it was released, the video had been viewed more than 100,000 times. You can watch it below:

“Amplify your voice for justice”: Roger Waters and prominent artists call for boycott of Israel in new video

The cultural boycott is part of the larger Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a peaceful global human rights movement called for by Palestinian civil society that seeks to use nonviolent economic means to pressure the Israeli government to end its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens, and allow Palestinians who were violently expelled from their ancestral lands to return — as is required by international law.

Roger Waters has led the cultural boycott movement globally. The Pink Floyd co-founder has published several open letters exclusively in Salon in the past two years, calling on fellow prominent artists, including Jon Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones, to boycott Israel.