It was a great and generous gift that Roger Waters gave to the Shinnecock Nation, and the part of the article/Q&A devoted to that and to the struggle of the Shinnecock people to preserve their sacred sites was informative and important [“Q&A: Rock Star Roger Waters Talks About His Connection To South Fork, And The Shinnecock,” 27east.com, July 28].
Then something happened — the probably prearranged questions orchestrated to give Mr. Waters his platform for propaganda and rhetoric. Then vile, disgusting language — inappropriate and disrespectful to readers — ending in “all the rest of the assholes who are sitting on huge piles of personal cash.” Last I looked, Mr. Waters’s net worth was $310 million, and he lives on an estate in Bridgehampton. Quoting that gratuitous foul language was offensive, unnecessary and a poor editorial choice.
However, most offensive and unnecessary in an article meant to honor (Mr. Waters and) the Shinnecock people was the editorial decision to give voice to Mr. Waters’s “world view.” He eagerly spouted his lies and propaganda, repeating the word “apartheid” three times around his statement that Israel is an apartheid state, claiming it as fact.
It is not fact. Mr. Waters highlights the propaganda tactic of repeating a lie often enough so that people will believe it. The letters to the editor section of the local newspaper is not the place to debate this.
Mr. Waters is a major supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, whose goal is to eradicate Israel as a Jewish state. BDS does not support peace between Palestinians and Israel, nor does it support a two-state solution.
Mr. Waters’s anti-Israel opinions go further, though. In February 2020, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that Mr. Waters’s views on Israel “far exceed the boundaries of civil discourse.” Indeed, a few months later, Mr. Waters accused Israel of being (indirectly) responsible for the murder of George Floyd. MLB stopped running ads for his concert tour, following in the footsteps a few years earlier of American Express, then Citibank, refusing to fund his tours and cutting ties to him.
Mr. Waters’s anti-Israel passion crosses the boundary into antisemitism, using imagery in his concerts of a pig emblazoned with a Star of David, surrounded by dollar bills. Already in 2015, the Anti-Defamation League acknowledged that “antisemitic conspiracy theories” had “seeped into the totality” of Mr. Waters’s views. Most recently, he supported Jeremy Corbyn, a United Kingdom Labour leader, kicked out of the party for antisemitism.
So much for the question, “It gets into your world view, though, too, right?” I make no assumptions other than, had you done your homework, maybe you would not have just handed the mike to Mr. BDS. Unless maybe Mr. Waters insisted?
Elaine Fox, M.D., MPH
Just to be clear, there were no advance agreements on questions and they were not provided in advance — Ed.
One fine body…