Dec 192013

Roger Waters2 by Duncan HarleyIs Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters an open hater of Jews or simply an opponent of injustice? – writes Duncan Harley

As a past defender of the Jewish cause, I have to wonder if there is a way forward for the lost tribe of Israel. My old pal Norman was indeed of that persuasion.
With a gentile wife, the occasional pothead, father of two and caravan owner exemplified the genre.

Not necessarily in that order of course. Mainly he was just a normal, well-adjusted resident of that mean city which we Scots call Glasgow.

Nice guy really, but after a wee drink or two, things often became intellectually rough.

I wished him well of course, but being Jewish by birth and with a “you would never even know” kind of persona, he was fated to be one of those guys you loved, but also loved to hate.

He and I got on really well until that fateful day in the August of 1992 when the question of the Holocaust arose during a so far, pleasant joint family trip to Findhorn.

There had been previous family holidays, trips down the Clyde on the SS Waverley and some very memorable picnics in those Campsie Glens. However, over a Guinness or two we fell out over that old question. Over a Guinness or two we failed to agree about that old question. Over a Guinness or two it all went bottom side up.

The problem was of course that Jewish colonisation of the Holy Land following  the Turkish domination of the Middle East, in the 300 years before 1914 and T.E. Lawrence’s attempts to unite the Arab Nations; plus, of course, the often vindictive treatment of the indigenous people of the area which is now occupied by the State of Israel. A heady mix indeed.

–          If Hitler had got his way, I wouldn’t be here.

–          What can you mean?

–          How dare you even ask.

–          Erm, not sure really. Hitler died before I was even born. My dad nearly died fighting against his airmen.

–          If Hitler had got his way, I wouldn’t be here.

–          So, if Hitler had invaded Scotland …

–          If Hitler had got his way, I wouldn’t be here.

–          Yes, I got that. But what about moving forward. I mean, the past is important and all that of course. The future might well be even more important perhaps.

–          Fuck you, you are a Jew hater.

–          Pardon me?

–          Fuck you, you have never seen your family humiliated.

–          Erm. Another pint good sir?

–          Fuck you, you have never had to suffer.

–          OK. That would be a no then …

–          Fuck you, you hate us.

–          Well I don’t hate you but I will certainly try if that will make you satisfied Norman.

In a refreshing interview this week, former Pink Floyd front man, Roger Waters, has spoken out loudly about the Palestinian cause.

Sparking fury from The Jewish Chronicle, he is reported as saying

“The Holocaust was brutal and disgusting beyond our imagination. We must never forget it. We must always remain vigilant. We must never stand by silent and indifferent to the sufferings of others, whatever their race, colour, ethnic background or religion. All human beings deserve the right to live equally under the law.”

He then proceeded to walk the talk down that thorny path of comparing the Israeli state’s treatment of the Palestinians to that of the Third Reich’s crusade against the non-Aryan races of the world.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of New York has seemingly said of Mr Waters,

“the Nazis were a genocidal regime that murdered six million Jews. That you would have the audacity to compare Jews to monsters who murdered them shows you have no decency, you have no heart, you have no soul.”

“If Rabbi Boteach can make a case for the Israel government’s policies, I look forward to hearing it. It is difficult to make arguments to defend the Israeli government’s policies, so would-be defenders often use a diversionary tactic, they routinely drag the critic into a public arena and accuse them of being an anti-Semite” replied Waters.

The debate, if that is indeed what it is, will no doubt continue.

Barack Obama has recently said

“I will continue to believe that Israel’s security is paramount.”

Many will wonder, however, if the US President is genuinely prepared to further escalate the turmoil in which the Middle East currently finds itself involved.

Many others continue to cling to the hope that the Israeli state will somehow be persuaded to substantially revise its expansionist policies and its habit of mistreating the Palestinian people, despite its seemingly deeply entrenched position.

The world is holding its breath in anticipation of a solution to the Israeli problem.

More Info:

The full “Former Pink Floyd” Guardian article
The Jewish Chronicle
An Avaaz petition to “Lift the siege of Gaza” 

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