Roger Waters Sparks Outrage Over Pro-Palestinian Gesture

Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters is being criticized for holding a Palestinian flag during a meeting with Colombian President Gustavo Petro and for his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On October 7, Hamas launched an attack on Israel, which it said was retribution for worsening conditions for Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Israel declared war on Hamas and launched hundreds of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, followed by extensive ground operations. At least 1,200 people were killed in Israel, The Associated Press has reported, and more than 17,700 Palestinians, according to health authorities in Gaza, the AP says.

The U.S. vetoed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on Friday. The resolution was put forward by the United Arab Emirates and had the backing of 13 other members, although the U.K. abstained.

Waters, a well-known pro-Palestinian activist, met with Petro in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 7, two days after he performed in the capital city. During the meeting, Waters requested that Petro lead an initiative before the International Court of Justice to ensure that the genocide convention is respected and to put an end to the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip.

The Pink Floyd co-founder told the Colombian president that their common goal is “to fight for the human rights of everyone in the world,” to which Petro replied, “we are in agreement on that.” He also gifted a signed guitar to the president’s youngest daughter and the pair held up the Palestinian flag.

Waters has now been slammed online after right-wing media personality Oli London shared a clip of Waters and Petro’s meeting on X, formerly Twitter. Newsweek reached out to Waters via email for comment Monday.

“He’s so pro Palestine that they hold the flag upside down. These people are morons. One bigger than the next,” one person wrote.

“He is absolutely disgusting,” said another.

“Heartbreaking to see a legend fall from grace,” someone else commented.

“Sold his soul to the devil,” a fourth person wrote.

A fifth added: “Whoa. Old hippie virtue signaling.”

However, not everyone is unhappy with the singer-songwriter, and some took to the social media platform to praise him.

“Once more, @rogerwaters says exactly what needs to be said. Refuse the reality pushed by the Western enablers of the apartheid Israeli genocide. Ceasefire now. End the occupation now. Justice now. NOW,” one person wrote, while sharing a post from Waters’ X account.

“So many thanks for sharing: Roger Waters is our voice from the bottom of our heart!” said another in the comment section of a video where Waters discussed his pro-Palestinian stance.

Filmmaker Vin Arfuso, who worked with Waters on a documentary on the Palestinian situation called Walled Off, told Newsweek that supporting Palestinians was not inherently antisemitic.

“I want people (Americans mostly) to understand the plight of the Palestinians, to understand what it means to live under military occupation, to understand the concept of ethnic cleansing, the meaning of apartheid—where it applies and where it doesn’t with regard to Israel, and so on,” Arfuso said.

“For too long the slogan ‘Free Palestine’ has been conflated with accusations of antisemitism and other ill-intentions when in reality it’s a call for self-determination and independence,” he said.

This Is Not a Drill was the seventh concert tour by the English songwriter which began in Pittsburgh on July 6, 2022, and ended in Quito, Ecuador, on December 9, 2023—and he didn’t hold back on sharing his beliefs while on stage. Not only did Waters wear the Palestinian keffiyeh when he performed, but he included visuals in his performance that called for a stop to the “genocide in Gaza.”

 LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06: Roger Waters performs on stage at The O2 Arena during the "This is Not A Drill" tour, on June 6, 2023, in London, England. He is being criticized for his pro-Palestine stance.Jim Dyson/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 06: Roger Waters performs on stage at The O2 Arena during the “This is Not A Drill” tour, on June 6, 2023, in London, England. He is being criticized for his pro-Palestine stance.Jim Dyson/Getty Images

This isn’t the first time that Waters has experienced backlash. He previously faced allegations that a May performance in Berlin was antisemitic after he donned a Nazi-style, black leather trench coat, with a red armband that had two crossed hammers rather than a swastika.

However, Waters took to his website to insist that the performance was “quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms.”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism previously told Newsweek it had gathered evidence of examples of Waters making antisemitic comments, which were presented in the documentary The Dark Side of Roger Waters.

“Roger Waters has repeatedly used his enormous platform to bait Jews, but he always claims that he is not antisemitic. We believed that there was further evidence out there to the contrary, and the release of The Dark Side of Roger Waters now puts the evidence we obtained in the hands of the public,” Gideon Falter, chief executive of CAA told Newsweek in September.

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This story was originally published December 11, 2023, 7:55 AM.

source: star-telegram

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