Roger Waters Urges 'Only Notable Standout' Kamasi Washington to Cancel Israeli Festival Performance

To perform in Israel 'would be a betrayal of everyone who ever stood up for civil or human rights anywhere,' ex-Pink Floyd frontman writes on Facebook

Kamasi Washington performs at the Arroyo Seco Music Festival, Pasadena, California, June 23, 2018.
Pablo Pena,AP

Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters urged saxophonist Kamasi Washington to cancel his upcoming performance in Israel, citing "the desperate plight of the Palestinian people."

Washington, an African-American composer and producer, is scheduled to perform at the Meteor Festival in Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan in northern Israel on September 8.

>> These are all the artists who have pulled out of Israel's Meteor Festival amid BDS pressure

"Please don’t play the Meteor Festival in Tel Aviv. To do so would be a betrayal of everyone who ever stood up for civil or human rights anywhere," Rogers wrote on his Facebook page.

Addressing Washington, Rogers noted he "had assumed it would be a given that you would cancel." Rogers described the saxophonist as "the only notable standout" on Meteor Festival's line-up after the cancellation of Lana Del Rey on Saturday.

The American singer made the announcement after Rogers implored her to reconsider performing in Israel, writing on Twitter that she was delaying her show "until a time when I can schedule visits for both my Israeli and Palestinian fans." Del Rey's cancellation came simultaneously with that of American electronic musician Henry Laufer, known by his stage name Shlohmo, who announced he would not be playing in Israel "after the government's recent human rights atrocities."

>> Is Roger Waters a peace activist or an anti-Semite?

In his Facebook post, Rogers praised Washington for his song "Malcolm's Theme" and noted that a 1961 speech by African-American civil rights activist Malcolm X is applicable "to the oppression of our brothers and sisters in Palestine."

Rogers concluded his appeal to the artist with a song dedicated to Mohammed Ayoub, a 15-year-old Palestinian from Gaza who was shot dead by Israeli forces during protests on the border with Israel in April.

Waters performed with Pink Floyd between 1965 and 1985 before becoming a political personality, using his fame and status to fight Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, and speaking on behalf of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as well as Black Lives Matter.

Waters drew criticism in April when he called the Syrian White Helmets volunteer group a "fake organization" that provides propaganda for “jihadists and terrorists.”