Roger Waters Urges Madonna Not to Perform at Eurovision in Tel Aviv

In an Op-Ed published by The Guardian, the rock star calls on 'everyone involved in what I see as Eurovision’s betrayal of our joint humanity to focus on their capacity to empathize with their Palestinian brothers and sisters'

File Photo: Musician Roger Waters performs at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 20, 2017.
Reuters

Former Pink Floyd front-man Roger Waters urged Madonna not to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May, after the European Broadcasting Union had confirmed the pop icon's participation in the event last week.

Waters, in an Op-Ed published by The Guardian, called on all those taking part in the song contest to show sympathy for the Palestinians and the dire economic situation in the Gaza Strip, which is under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

>> Opinion: Roger Waters can continue to growl, but Eurovision has a more serious problem 

Madonna performs at the 2016 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 22, 2016.
\ Mario Anzuoni/ REUTERS

"I suppose I’m calling on everyone involved in what I see as Eurovision’s betrayal of our joint humanity to focus on their capacity to empathize with their Palestinian brothers and sisters. To try to put themselves in that place. Try to imagine, for 70 years, generation after generation, waking every morning to the systematic, creeping plunder of your people’s life," Waters wrote.  

Waters addressed other artists who have performed in Israel and their claims that "they are doing it to build bridges and further the cause of peace. Bullshit," he wrote. "To perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalize the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters … all that bad stuff."

Waters addressed accusations of anti-Semitism, calling them "a smokescreen to divert attention" from the occupation. " I should point out that I support the fight for human rights for all oppressed peoples everywhere," he added.

In March, Waters, supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement called on competitors to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Palestinians.

In January, Waters called on the BBC to refrain from broadcasting the Eurovision in Tel Aviv. An open letter signed by over 50 leading U.K. artists urged the BBC to push for the locale of this year's song contest to be changed because of "Israel's systematic violation of Palestinian human rights."