Long-time fans of Roger Waters, and Pink Floyd proper should not be surprised by the musician’s anti-war and anti-authoritarian views. But Nassau County lawmakers out in Long Island, NY are probably not big Floyd fans. They’re also not very big fans of anyone who boycotts the state of Israel, it seems.
Waters’ involvement and support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, which began in 2005 and “works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law” is about to land him in hot water with Long Island authorities — and he may have to cancel his September dates.
Back in May of 2016, Long Island’s Suffolk and Nassau Counties officially put laws on the books forbidding business with people and entities who boycott Israel. The New York City Council also passed a resolution slamming “all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel” and describes the state as “far and away the most democratic and open society in the Middle East” and “an ally of the United States” with “a long-standing relationship with the City of New York.”
New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, also stepped in to order state agencies stop doing business with any individual or company boycotting Israel. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” Cuomo declared.
Now a little over a year after passing the law, Nassau County Attorney Carnell Foskey is threatening to take “appropriate legal action” if the operator of the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum (NYCB Live), does not cancel Waters’ shows scheduled for September of 2017.
Back in April, Waters was included with over 50 prominent artists and activists, including Bishop Desmond Tutu, who signed a petition urging ’90s band Radiohead to cancel their Israel concert — which didn’t go over too well with the band’s singer, Thom Yorke. He explained to Rolling Stone that some artists don’t agree with the BDS movement and how it’s “deeply disrespectful to assume that [the band is] either… misinformed or… can’t make these decisions [themselves].”
On Saturday, July 15th BDS will hold an hour-long conversation on the cultural boycott of Israel in a special Facebook Live event with Roger Waters. It could be a good place to voice your own opinions on the matter as well as listen to what Waters and the BDS movement has to say.
We’ll update with additional information about the concert dates as it becomes available.