Roger Waters slammed rocker Jon Bon Jovi in a recent op-ed for magazine Salon in an effort to protest an October 3 Bon Jovi concert in Tel Aviv.
Waters, a well-known opponent of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians, penned a long open letter to Jon that was published in Salon. The letter listed the many atrocities of Israel’s army and requested Bon Jovi boycott the country. Roger Waters, who used to play bass for Pink Floyd, routinely calls for his colleagues to boycott holding concerts in Israel, comparing Israel to “Apartheid South Africa.”
Roger Waters wrote that Bon Jovi and his band mates stand “shoulder to shoulder” with an oppressive government if he played the concert. In his letter, Roger confessed that “in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business,” and hopes the letters will encourage his colleagues to “not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel.”
Waters continued, referring to an interview Jon gave in a popular Israeli magazine. During the interview, Bon Jovi revealed that he “insisted” his band tour in Israel, and the rocker said said he was “excited” for the upcoming concert, since “Israel was a place that I’ve always wanted to visit, but it never worked out.”
Jon also confessed he “always heard what a wonderful place Israel is,” and was thrilled to visit “the birthplace of all religions.”
Calling Bon Jovi to the mat, Roger retorted that Israel’s policies towards Palestinians are similar to Apartheid South Africa.
In his letter to Bon Jovi, Roger Waters said that having “read Jon’s comments last week in [Israeli magazine] Yedioth Ahronoth, I won’t waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa,” and asked that Bon Jovi take “the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians.”
Roger accused Bon Jovi of standing “shoulder to shoulder” with “the settler who burned the baby,” “the one who emptied his clip into the 13-year-old girl,” and “the Minister of Justice who called for genocide.” In the letter, Roger Waters also provided links to each horrific act he lists.
Bon Jovi, who said he “heard that [Tel Aviv is] an amazing city, vibrant and dynamic, and full of great restaurants,” in an interview with Israel21c,“had a chance to stand On [sic] the side of justice,” according to Roger Waters.
But by playing the concert, Roger Waters said he opposed “the pilot who refused to bomb refugee camps,” “the doctor banned from entry for saving lives,” and “the legless child growing up in the rubble.” In the letter, Roger again provided links for each of these examples.
Jon disagrees with Waters, however. In an interview with Israel21c, Jon said he “heard about [Roger’s letter] but it doesn’t interest me. I told my managers to give one simple answer: That I’m coming to Israel and I’m excited to come.”
Bon Jovi isn’t the first rocker Roger Waters has openly attacked for playing in Israel. According to Rolling Stone, last February, Waters wrote a similar letter to the legendary Alan Parsons, who also was the engineer on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Like Bon Jovi, Parsons had scheduled an Alan Parsons Project concert in Tel Aviv.
In that letter, Roger Waters wrote to Alan “I know you to be a talented and thoughtful man, so I assume you know of the plight of the Palestinians,” and asked him to cancel the February 10 concert. Parson’s reaction was similar to that of Bon Jovi. Alan replied to Roger’s request with “[m]usic knows no borders, and neither do I,” according to Rolling Stone.
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