Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has responded to criticism from R&B singer Dionne Warwick over his political views.
Waters has long lobbied for musicians to boycott Israel due to, in his view, the country’s mistreatment of Palestinians and occupation of their land.
Warwick recently told The Jerusalem Post that “art has no boundaries” and that she “would never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel”.
In response to Warwick’s remarks, Waters wrote a piece for Salon in which he rebuffed the singer’s comments.
Waters writes, “It strikes me as deeply disingenuous of Ms. Warwick to try to cast herself as a potential victim here. The victims are the occupied people of Palestine with no right to vote and the unequal Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Bedouin Israeli citizens of the village of al-Araqib, which has now been bulldozed 83 times by order of the Israeli government.”
“I believe you mean well, Ms. Warwick, but you are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947, and I am sorry but you are wrong, art does know boundaries. In fact, it is an absolute responsibility of artists to stand up for human rights – social, political and religious – on behalf of all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, whoever and wherever they may be on the surface of this small planet.”
Waters continued, “Forgive me, Ms. Warwick, but I have done a little research, and know that you crossed the picket line to play Sun City at the height of the anti-apartheid movement. In those days, Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen and 50 or so other musicians protested against the vicious, racist oppression of the indigenous peoples of South Africa. Those artists allowed their art to cross boundaries, but for the purpose of political action. They released a record that struck a chord across the world. That record, “I Ain’t Gonna play Sun City,” showed the tremendous support of musicians all over the world for the anti-apartheid effort.”
You can read Roger Waters’ article in full here. Warwick is scheduled to play Tel Aviv on May 19.