NY politicians urge banning Waters concert, citing anti-BDS law

A New York State lawmaker is joined by other politicians and activists in calling for BDS-promoter Roger Water’s upcoming concert to be canceled, citing a new law prohibiting boycotts against Israel.

Lawmaker Howard J. Kopel of Nassau County in New York State is leading a campaign against an upcoming concert by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) promoter Roger Waters, citing a new law prohibiting companies from doing business with the county if they support boycotts against Israel.

Waters, a world-famous musician and former Pink Floyd guitarist, is scheduled to perform at the Nassau Coliseum Sept. 15 and 16, just ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

According to Kopel, allowing Waters to perform at a county-run facility “offends the sense of decency held by our residents,” Nassau County’s Newsday reported.

Nassau County Attorney Carnell Foskey is threatening to take “appropriate legal action” if Nassau Events Center, the operator of the renovated Nassau Coliseum, where Rogers, former Pink Floyd guitarist, is scheduled to perform, according to Newsday.

“By enabling Mr. Waters to perform, NEC has given Mr. Waters a forum or platform to express his BDS ideology,” Foskey wrote in a letter Tuesday to NEC, Newsday said.

The Anti-Defamation League has labeled Waters an anti-Semite.

Hosting Waters is ‘Outrageous’

Councilman Bruce Blakeman wrote on Facebook, “The behaviors exhibited by Roger Waters are completely inappropriate and to have the Nassau Coliseum host him is inappropriate, but during Rosh Hashanah, it’s outrageous!

Anthony J. Santino, Supervisor of Hempstead Town in Nassau County, also commented on the social media platform, saying, “Most of us may enjoy Pink Floyd’s music, but the anti-Semitic vitriol and hate from frontman Roger Waters is reviling.

“Kudos to Legislator Howard J. Kopel & Councilman Bruce Blakeman for standing up to have him boycotted from the arena. Both Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and I also wrote individual letters to Nassau County, NY asking to cancel Roger Waters’ planned concert at NYCB Live/Nassau Coliseum due to his steeped anti-Semitic beliefs, history and practices.

“And for him to be scheduled to appear at the start of the Rosh Hashanah holiday is beyond the pale,” Santino concluded.

Waters Compares Israel to Nazi Germany

Interviewed by BDS movement leader Omar Barghouti, Saturday night in a Facebook video chat, Waters compared Israel’s government and policies to Nazi Germany, saying it has one of the most cruel regimes in the world.

“I’m not sure there are any much harsher regimes around the world, actually, if you look at it,” he claimed, before contradicting himself by saying he was “particularly concerned” about Syria, where more than 400,000 civilians have been killed during the ongoing civil war. However, Waters did not elaborate as to whether the Syrian regime is a worse human rights violator than the Jewish state.

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According to the Pink Floyd musician, dialogue with Israeli artists would be meaningless.

“I think that artists who say that they can somehow improve the situation by going and playing in Israel and having conversations with Israeli artists” are wrong, Rogers stated.

Asked about South Africans who reject his comparison of Israel to the former apartheid state, he replied that his critics are “entirely ignorant” and subjected to Nazi-style propaganda.

“It’s hard not to go back to [Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph] Goebbels,” he declared.

“If I didn’t play in the US it would have absolutely no effect on American foreign policy,” he said, explaining why he wasn’t encouraging a similar boycott of other countries and governments with whose policies he disagrees, such as the US and the Trump Administration.

“Boycott is a very specific strategy and tactic that you can use as a tool of protest in very certain specific situations… it’s a realistic tactic to affect the government and the people of Israel,” he stressed.

He Can Dish It Out, But He Can’t Take It

It appears Waters can dish it out be he can’t take it. Despite his vehement calls to boycott Israel, in a Facebook Live chat Saturday with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, he insisted on his right to perform in Nassau, saying an artist’s rights should not be attacked over his stand on an issue, JTA reported.

The Nassau program isn’t the first stumbling block encountered by Waters. Last week, a dozen teens from a Miami Beach Parks summer program backed out of a performance with the famous musician just hours before it was scheduled to begin.

“Miami Beach is a culturally diverse community and does not tolerate any form of hate,” Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier told the Miami Herald.

In an online ad on the Herald website, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation stated, “Mr. Waters, your vile messages of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and hatred are not welcome in this community.

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News