Roger Waters has said that Robbie Williams would be giving “tacit support to the deaths of Palestinian children” by going ahead with a planned concert in Tel Aviv this Saturday.
In a column for US current affairs magazine Salon, Pink Floyd star Waters said Williams going ahead with the Israeli leg of his tour was tantamount to “hypocrisy”, as well as “a chilling indifference” to the wellbeing of Palestinians.
Part of the combative piece, framed as an open letter, reads: “to be clear, Robbie, whether intended or not, your decision to play in Tel Aviv gives succor to Netanyahu and his regime, and endorses their exceptionalist and deadly racist policies”.
The former Take That singer is the UK’s UNICEF ambassador and is set to play for tens of thousands of people in Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Park on May 2nd.
Waters, who himself played a concert in Israel in 2006, is an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which he claims is “the most viable, peaceful way to end the suffering of, and forge a better future for, all the people of the Holy Land”.
His column sees him appeal directly to Williams and his well-known love of football, opening the letter by recalling the killing by Israeli soldiers of four Palestinian boys playing on a Gaza Beach during last summer’s Operation Edge, which he describes as a “war crime”.
“As a UNICEF ambassador and a man of humanity and honor, you have, in my opinion, a duty to respect the picket line created by Palestinian civil society and a growing number of engaged musicians, artists and academics around the globe”.
Waters, who was accused of anti-Semitism by CST founder Gerald Ronson last year, went on to say that Williams should leave or be dismissed from his UNICEF post if he was unable to see himself “in the eyes of a Palestinian father”.
He says: “I encourage you, Robbie, and all other artists, not to play in Israel until Israel complies with international law and recognizes the basic human rights of all the people of the region, including the Palestinian people, which, Robbie, includes Palestinian children playing soccer”.
Williams is the latest in a long line of artists to provoke the ire of Waters over appearances in or support for Israel, including the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Cindi Lauper and Neil Young.