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Roger Waters Urges Neil Young to Cancel Tel Aviv Show

Roger Waters and Neil Young
Brian Killian / Terry Wyatt, Getty Images

Neil Young‘s decision to perform in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv isn’t sitting well with Roger Waters.

In fact, the upcoming show — currently scheduled to take place on July 17 — has Waters so upset that he’s decided to go public with a note he penned to Young months ago, urging him to reconsider his decision to lend his tacit support to the Israeli political regime. The note, which Waters posted to Facebook, reads as follows:

Dear Neil Young,

There are rumors flying about that you are considering doing shows in Tel Aviv this year.

The picket lines have been crossed in this last year by one or two lightweights from our community but no one of your stature. Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave. Neil Young! You are one of my biggest heroes, you are one of a very short list, you, John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, Huddy Ledbetter, Harry Belafonte, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday and, like some others, but not many, your songs have always been redolent of love and humanity and compassion for your fellow man and woman. I find it hard to believe that you would turn your back on the indigenous people of Palestine. That you would lend support to, and encourage and legitimize, with your presence, a colonial apartheid regime, largely settled from Europe, that seeks to confine the native people of the land, either in exile or in second class status in reservations and ghettos.

Please, brother, tell me it ain’t so.

As I recall, back in the day, along with the rest of us (Stevie van Zandt, Bruce, Led Zep etc etc etc etc) you would not “Play In Sun City” I am asking you to stand on the same moral ground now. The late, great, Nelson Mandela lives on in us, we cannot let him down. He was explicit in his position and I quote, ” We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. It is time for “Rock Against Racism” to show some of it’s muscle by refusing to lend our names to the whitewashing of the illegal colonization of Palestinian land and the systematic oppression of its indigenous people. Unfortunately the opposition lobby has a lot of muscle too. They spend millions on their “Hasbara”(If like me you have no Hebrew)”Explaining” or to you and me “Propaganda”. The propaganda machine is well oiled and ruthless. We, on the other hand, have only our commitment to non-violent resistance to lie down in front of the IDF caterpillar tractors that would raze the native people from the land of Palestine. We stand with those people, and with all the brave people of Israel and Palestine, Jewish and Arab alike who oppose The Israeli Governments brutal policies. We stand with Rachel Corrie, the young American woman who gave her life under the caterpillar’s tracks. Please join me and countless other artists all over the world in solidarity with the oppressed and the disenfranchised. It is time to heed the peoples call. People like The Bedouin, the nomadic people of the Negev in the arid south of Israel, please research their plight, one village, Al-Araqib has been destroyed 63 times by IDF Bulldozers. If you are in doubt about any of this, I will go with you to Palestine, and Israel, if they’ll let me in, you will see what I have seen, and then let us figure out the right thing to do.

By the way I watched your Bridge School concert on YouTube last year, it was very moving, you were, of course magnificent. You had asked me to perform, and as I explained to your management, I would have gladly done so had I not already been committed to The Wall Tour in Europe and Stand Up For Heroes in New York. This year I will be pleased and proud to come and support you if you call.

With respect, and love.

Roger Waters.

Waters’ outspoken support of the Palestinian people is well known; last year, he sparked controversy after floating an inflatable pig with a Star of David on it during a concert, and later made comments comparing the Israeli government to Nazis. Young, meanwhile, has fought his own battles on behalf of indigenous peoples’ rights, lambasting the Canadian government for its part in allowing oil companies to impinge on land treaties with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

Next: Top 10 Roger Waters Songs

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