Yesterday we saw how, in December 2013, musician Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, compared Israel to Nazi Germany – only to be taken to school, as it were, by Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, who in an epic takedown for the New York Observer spelled out to Waters the error of his ways.
Alas, Waters didn’t care to learn. In October of last year, he published a rant in Huffington Post blaming the West, especially the U.S., for the plight of Palestinian children. This piece, too, drew an articulate reply, this time from Israeli writer Lilac Sigan. “Here is a man,” lamented Sigan, “who seems to be going out of his way in order to do something good, and doesn’t realize that if anything, he’s doing the exact opposite.” She explained:
In Waters’ world there is no Hamas, and this terror organization doesn’t live by its sword, doesn’t swear to death and violence, and doesn’t rule the Gaza strip with primitive Shariya law. In the imaginary world he presents there are no rockets, and Hamas hasn’t fired thousands of them at Israel this summer, aiming at 75% of the Israeli population which was saved by the Iron Dome. In his world Hamas has not exploited Palestinian funds in order to purchase arms and build military tunnels with supplies that were intended to build Palestinian homes. In his world Hamas doesn’t exploit the UN facilities for military purposes, and doesn’t hold public street executions of Palestinians who dare to protest….
Sigan was, as it happens, wrong about one thing here: Hamas does exist in Waters’s world; and as far as he’s concerned, they’re the good guys. In a 2012 speech at the UN, delivered in his capacity as a member of the now discredited Russell Tribunal, he stood up for Hamas, which he depicted not as terrorist thugs but as victims of Israeli “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “occupation” who actions are merely responses to Israeli oppression and violence.
But back to Sigan: how is it, she asked, that with “senseless and brutal slaughtering” taking place all over the Middle East, and “with 200,000 butchered in Syria alone in the past 3 years,” Waters’s gaze stays fixed on Israel? “Just this week in Cairo,” she wrote,
donors pledged 5.4 billion dollars to rebuild the destroyed parts of Gaza. But how much of this funding will go into rebuilding Hamas and lining its leaders’ pockets instead of being used for the benefit of the Palestinians? How much of it will be used to redig the network of terror tunnels into Israel? And will forced child labor be used again in order to complete this project, in which at least 160 palestinian children tragically died the last time around? A mechanism had been agreed in Cairo with UN involvement, to ensure that international funding not be diverted to finance the rebuilding of Hamas’s military capabilities. But sources in Gaza said there was no practical way to control how such money would be spent. If one truly cares for Palestinian children, all of these facts should be a huge concern….
Waters declared that Palestinians should enjoy the same freedoms that he enjoys. That’s a very nice thought which no-one could disagree with, but one should remember that no Palestinian, whether child or adult, will enjoy any freedom at all as long as Hamas is in charge and doesn’t change its ways.
But Sigan’s piece didn’t wake Waters up, either. On the contrary. Even as he’s been presented over and over again with the plain facts about Israel’s predicament and Hamas’s ideology, he’s clung more and more stubbornly to his black-and-white picture of the situation – and attacked, with increasing vitriol, those members of his profession who have dared to go against him by performing in Israel. We’ll get to that tomorrow.