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Roger Waters Pens Open Letter Condemning Bon Jovi for Playing in Israel

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Unable to convince Bon Jovi to join his cultural boycott of Israel, Roger Waters has published an open letter harshly criticizing the band for refusing to cancel its plans for an Oct. 3 concert in Tel Aviv.

Waters’ letter, published at Salon, comes after frontman Jon Bon Jovi told an Israeli newspaper that although he was aware of Waters’ public campaign against the band’s stop in Tel Aviv — and against artists playing in Israel in general — he insisted the show go on.

“Yes, I heard about that but it doesn’t interest me,” he’s quoted as saying. “I told my managers to give one simple answer: that I’m coming to Israel and I’m excited to come. There are few places in the world that I haven’t been, Israel is one of them, so I’m thrilled to be coming. We want to stay for a few days and see as much as possible.”

Bon Jovi is just the latest act to hear from Waters regarding Israeli tour plans in recent years. Last year, he urged Neil Young to cancel a stop in Tel Aviv, then did the same to the Rolling Stones a few months later. Earlier this year, he was rebuffed after reaching out to Alan Parsons about canceling Parsons’ plans for a Tel Aviv show.

Read Waters’ complete open letter to Bon Jovi below.

Dear Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, and Tico Torres,

Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel. Having read Jon’s comments last week in Yedioth Ahronoth, I won’t waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and 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.

So the die is cast, you are determined to proceed with your gig in Tel Aviv on October 3. You are making your stand.

You stand shoulder to shoulder

With the settler who burned the baby

With the bulldozer driver who crushed Rachel Corrie

With the soldier who shot the soccer player’s feet to bits

With the sailor who shelled the boys on the beach

With the sniper who killed the kid in the green shirt

And the one who emptied his clip into the 13-year-old girl

And the Minister of Justice who called for genocide

You had a chance to stand

On the side of justice

With the pilot who refused to bomb refugee camps

With the teenager who chose eight prison terms over army service

With the prisoner who fasted for 266 days until freedom

With the doctor banned from entry for saving lives

With the farmer who was cut down marching to the wall

With the legless child growing up in the rubble

And the 550 others who won’t grow up at all

Because of the missiles and tank shells and bullets we sent

The dead can’t remind you of the crimes you’ve ignored. But, lest we forget, “To stand by silent and indifferent is the greatest crime of all.”

Roger Waters

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