August 2012 Archives


Father Roy writes:   Does Elliott Abrams know what he’s talking in the interview pasted below?  Some will say he does.  Some will say he doesn’t.  He suggests that George Mitchell and Dennis Ross saw eye-to-eye at one time.  He seems to be content with the status quo.   Whatever, the interview gives us food for thought.   Peace, Roy

Unsettled Times in Israel

Interviewee: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor,…
July 18, 2012

Israel’s coalition government is collapsing and its leaders remain concerned about U.S. policies toward Syria and Iran. CFR Middle East expert Elliott Abrams calls it an unsettled time in the country. In the wake of the Kadima Party quitting the coalition with Likud over the issue of ultra-Orthodox serving in the military or national service, there could be new elections in Israel as early as next January, he says. In many ways, Israel is "watching and waiting" to see who wins the U.S. presidential election before dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues, says Abrams, though it’s possible that Israel could decide that in Iran, "the window is closing fast and they really need to make a decision to act even before the U.S. election."

What was the mood like in Israel on your latest trip?

On foreign policy matters, I’d describe them as almost wistful in wishing the United States would take a greater role in Syria and with respect to Iran’s uranium nuclear program. It was wistful in the sense that the United States has so much more power than the Israelis, yet we don’t seem to be willing to use it, either with regard to Iran or Syria. When I was there a couple of weeks ago there was not much being said about domestic policy issues, but that has heated up recently.

Yes, the new coalition government is in the midst of collapse.

There are two big issues. One is the old question of social and economic equity, which led to some big demonstrations last summer. This summer had been quieter until an individual actually immolated himself in a protest last weekend [July 14]. Now the question is whether that will spur large demonstrations again, or [if] that is going to be seen as the act of a disturbed man.

The other question is the so called Tal Law–the law that exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from military service, or alternative service. The Israeli High Court said it must be changed by the end of July, and there [had] been a dispute between Shaul Mofaz–the leader of the Kadima Party, who recently joined in a coalition government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

What are the differences?

When Mofaz led Kadima into the coalition, the main issue he said needed fast action was the exemption given almost all ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from military service. The majority of Israelis, and certainly the majority of Kadima voters, see this as unfair: Why should these young men not carry part of the burden of defending the state? The debate is over the number or percentage of ultra-Orthodox young men who are not required to serve. Mofaz, as a former IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] chief of staff, feels strongly about this. Netanyahu probably agrees with him, but Netanyahu needs the support of the religious parties–and they do not agree. Efforts to hammer out a Mofaz-Netanyahu deal have failed, so Mofaz seems to feel he had no choice; he felt Bibi made him a promise and did not keep it.

What does the collapse of the coalition government mean for Israel’s political future? Will there be an early election?

The withdrawal of Kadima from the coalition does will not bring down the government, which still has a majority. But it probably means that elections, which were expected in the fall of 2013, will come sooner; there is talk of elections in January or February. It probably also hurts the reputations of both Shaul Mofaz and Benjamin Netanyahu, who could not make the coalition work, and it makes Netanyahu more reliant on the support of the religious parties. A January election only gives Mofaz seven months as the leader of Kadima to strengthen its poor results in opinion polls.

What’s still missing is a strong alternative candidate who can beat Netanyahu next year. Polls over the last few months have always had him winning re-election against all comers. I doubt that will change.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was just in Israel for the first time in two years. Would Israel like to see American military forces involved somehow in Syria?

No, what they would like to see is an end of the Syrian crisis. It’s been dragging on for some fifteen months, in the Israeli view, partly because the United States has failed to do much. President Obama called for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad as long ago as the summer of 2011, but we did not follow it up with the required kind of action–for example, arming and financing the Syrian opposition–that might have led to the regime’s downfall. So it drags on and drags on, which has an impact on Turkey and on Lebanon, and on Jordan.

Israeli leaders are asking: "What is the United States doing? Why do we seem to be sitting on our hands? Why are we making speeches about Syria but not providing any leadership?" For many years they’ve been happy with the stability in Syria under the Assad regime, because the Golan Heights border between Israel and Syria was quiet. They now see the border as unstable.

In their view, if the United States had provided leadership, the Saudis, the Qataris, the Turks–all of whom want the Syrian regime to fall–would’ve joined with us in more support for the opposition. Each of these countries is providing some support, [but] what you don’t have is a concerted effort to get rid of Assad. The Israeli view is that only the United States could have led such an effort, that we should have done so and should be doing so now.

The $64 million question still remains: What is Israel going to do about Iran’s nuclear program? Is Israel more anxious now about Iran, or are they still willing to let this diplomatic track continue?

They are not more anxious. They are almost resigned to the situation in which they find themselves. I believe they’re not prepared to see Iran develop a nuclear weapon. They know that the United States and the Security Council and the IAEA have all said they are opposed to it and that it would be unacceptable. They’re not sure whether we mean it. The Israelis would like to postpone having to make a decision as long as possible, on the off chance that the diplomatic track reinforced by sanctions will work, or on the off chance that the United States would at some point strike the Iranian nuclear program. They know the United States has far more power that it can bring to bear than they do. Also they’re going to suffer from any Iranian counter-attack, particularly if they lead the strike instead of the United States.

So they are not anxious to hit Iran, but there’s a view in Israel that at a certain point, the window closes, and they will have to make that decision. The $64 million question may be: What is that point? A year ago, people were saying, "It’s the summer of 2012." It isn’t clear to me when that window closes.

No country follows the American elections more closely than Israel. What is their view of Romney? Do they know him well?

You’re certainly right that they’re following the election closely. I was asked by most people I spoke with, "What is happening? Who’s going to win? What will a reelected Obama’s Middle East policy be? What would Romney’s Middle East policies be?" They don’t know Romney well; he isn’t someone who, for example, has been a senator for twenty years and has been in touch with Israeli officials through that period. So they have a million questions. And, as you know, polling data suggests that President Obama is not very popular in Israel.

What about the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, which was featured as a major Obama initiative in 2009?

What is striking is that we have been discussing Syria and Iran, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what is striking in talking to Israelis–and for that matter in talking to Arab diplomats–is that they do want to talk about Syria, and Iran, and Egypt, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict doesn’t arise, or arises only very late in the conversation.

Secretary Clinton’s visit was her first to Israel and the West Bank in two years, which is remarkable. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Israel as national security adviser or secretary of state more than twenty times. Some of her predecessors also made numerous trips to the region, so it’s striking that Secretary Clinton has not. I don’t say that critically. It seems to me to reflect the policy [of] George Mitchell, later Dennis Ross, [who] were the lead diplomats on that conflict, and partly a judgment on her part that it wasn’t moving anywhere, that she would be wasting time and that she needed to address other world problems. Most people in Israel would agree that the Israeli-Palestinian situation is not going to change until after the U.S. elections and the elaboration of a policy by President Obama or President Romney.

I guess Israelis are in a watch-and-wait mode over the U.S. elections.

Israelis and Palestinians, with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, are in a watch-and- wait situation. There isn’t really anything the Israelis can do about Syria, so they are watching the Americans, the Turks, the Arabs. When it comes to Egypt and Sinai, the Israelis are actually doing one significant thing; they are building a very elaborate security fence separating Israel from Sinai, in an effort to prevent both illegal immigration and smuggling on the one hand, and to prevent terrorist attacks on the other. And they are trying to prevent any kind of confrontation with Egyptian security officials. So when it comes to Egypt, though they’re generally watching to see what the new Morsi government will do. On security in Sinai, they are able to act on their own and are doing so. And when it comes to Iran, the Israelis are indeed watching and waiting, unless they reach the conclusion that the window is closing fast and they really need to make a decision to act even before the U.S. election. I think that’s still possible.



Politicians (like theologians) often seem to live in a bubble – oblivious of what is taking place beyond the scope of their very limited vision. I wonder whether Mr Netanyahu really has any idea how much he’s done to damage the reputation of Israel in the eyes of the world (outside of his own country and the USA at any rate).

Does Netanyahu’s Government Threaten Israeli’s Future?

authorTuesday July 24, 2012 14:20author by Craig Harrington – International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group

Is Israel’s move to the hardline far right hurting its international standing? The Netanyahu government’s treatment of Occupied Palestine may harm the long-term solvency of the Israeli state.

The effective remains of a Palestinian state
The effective remains of a Palestinian state

Murtaza Hussein, writing for Al Jazeera English, believes that the staunch far right policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu may be undermining the very state they are instituted to protect.

Tel Aviv considers the West Bank an intrinsic part of Israel, rather than a disputed territory or sovereign state. This belief is driving the Netanyahu government toward an inevitable conclusion where the status of millions of Palestinians must be decided. That decision will carry with it the potential to either ostracize Israel completely from the international community, or to obliterate the ‘Jewish nature’ of the Israeli state.

The first issue, becoming an international outcast, may already be underway.

Israel’s strongest partners, the United States and the European Union, have faced increasingly harsh criticism for their carte blanche support of Israeli policies. On Tuesday PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi called on the EU to review its economic relationship with Israel taking into consideration the vast international condemnation of occupation policies in Gaza and the West Bank, reports Ma’an News.

Israel does not need to formalize its occupation by annexing the Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank for its policy there to be recognized as apartheid. Arab-Israelis are already treated as second class citizens – unless they are Jewish, in which case they still often face racism and prejudice – by their own government. Millions of Palestinians living beyond the borders of Israel face a fate worse than second class. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza live like prisoners, convicted and punished en masse of threatening the sanctity and security of the Jewish state. In the past, states that operated in overt and intentional disregard of universal human rights were treated as international pariah.

The Republic of South Africa, prior to the ending of its apartheid in the 1990s, faced international economic and diplomatic sanctions for decades. At the time South Africa’s racist government could count on only one rock solid international ally: Israel.

The second issue threatening Israel, the undermining of the Jewish state, is more complicated.

If Israel faces international sanction for mistreating segments of its domestic and occupied population there are clear historical precedents to follow. If Israel, through extending and formalizing its occupation, becomes solely responsible for millions of state-less Palestinians living in the West Bank the government in Tel Aviv will tread into the unknown.

Israel’s purpose for existing is to provide a homeland for Jews around the world. If the continued occupation of Palestine makes Israel the de facto homeland of millions of Palestinians (Christian and Muslim) the Jewish character of the state will come into question.

Prime Minister Netanyahu seems intent on laying claim to much of Occupied Palestine. Unfortunately he has shown no indication of how to deal with the Palestinians.

The people cannot be forcibly removed from the land – having already been forced into walled-off ghettos – because such an act would prove to the world that the Israeli government and military are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The people also cannot be granted Israeli citizenship or even legal residential status because their sheer numbers would overwhelm the firmly regulated Jewish majority.

By systematically destroying the Oslo Accords of 1993 and continually stalling and undermining the peace process Netanyahu is bringing his country closer to a point of no return.


I appreciate that this article is not directly about Israel or Palestine but the Middle-East is an intricate web with complex relationships of inter-dependence. Certainly the Western interest in Syria has little to do with the suffering of the human beings involved but is far more related to the weakening of the Shiite alliance (Syria-Hezbollah/Lebanon-Iran). Rightly or wrongly, the US and the Saudis and Israel and their friends see the collapse of the Assad government as something that will lead to regime change in Iran. Ahmadinejad is the real target. The rest is smoke and mirrors.

This article by Michael Collins is brilliant in its blunt expose of the lies we are being fed. Of course it’s basically the same spin we’ve been swallowing on Israel/Palestine for years.


July 30, 2012

How we know what we know about Syria

By Michael Collins

How do we know what we know about Syria? The press relies on a one man operation for news from Syria. The UN has a Saudi friendly NGO claim “crimes against humanity.” NATO and the oil oligarchies own the spin. we are lied to systematically.

Obama administration support for Syrian rebels is based on a United Nations authorized report from November 2011. In that document, Syria is accused of committing “crimes against humanity.” The report’s co-author is a board member at a Washington, D.C. based think tank that just happens to have the former chairman of ExxonMobil, a consultant for the Saudi Binladin Group, and a former CIA executive on its board of directors.

Much of the U.S. and European press on the so-called civil war originates from a tiny organization in the United Kingdom called the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (the Observatory). The one man operation is run by a longtime opponent of Syrian Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

For the most part, this is how we know what we know about Syria.

The “human rights” rationale

The United Nations Human Rights Council authorized an independent committee to study human rights in Syria in 2011. The committee didn’t visit Syria, claiming that the three members lacked access. Instead members set up a safe house in Switzerland, brought in individuals who claimed to have fled Syria, and took anonymous testimony on human rights concerns. This was the basis of the November 23, 2011 report to the UN HRC criticizing the Assad regime.

The report co-author, Karen Koning AbuZayd, is on the board of directors for the Middle East Policy Council in Washington DC. The board’s vice chairman is the former head of a non-government organization that received over $50 million in 2011from U.S. Agency for International Development and other government agencies. The council received a $1 million grant from a Saudi prince in 2007.

The council strongly supports regime change in Syria as evidenced by the selection the spokesperson from the rebel Syrian National Council as a presenter for its July 23 Capitol Hill briefing for Congress.

The UN HRC failed to report on foreign fighters in Syria, foreign funding of the rebels, and human rights violations by the rebels over the past year, including terrorist suicide bombing. The report is selective, biased, and one sided. It is also the basis for of sanctions plus NATO and Gulf oil oligarch aid that turned an armed conflict into a civil war.

News from the front, Coventry, UK

The Syrian Human Rights Observatory is a one man operation located in Coventry, United Kingdom. Rami Abdul Rahman dispatches reports to the Western media from his apartment. He claims to have 200 sources on the ground in Syria. The sources don’t know other sources and their names are a secret that only Abdul Rahman knows. He has not been there since his self-exile in 2001. He claims to be self-funded. He was part of the resistance to Assad and supports the Free Syria Army. Rahman is hardly objective yet his operation serves as the preeminent source for much of the Western media reporting on Syria.

Here are some recent examples of the Observatory in action. Their allegations are often cited in the first or second paragraphs of stories on the conflict,

MSNBC uses the Observatory for day to day reports on battles and outcomes: “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group, reported helicopter attacks on the central Salaheddine district of Aleppo and fighting elsewhere in the city.” MSNBC, July 28

Bloomberg cited the Observatory for summary statistics on total deaths in the conflict on both sides: “International and regional efforts have failed to end the violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 and has left at least 19,000 people dead, including about 5,000 government troops, according to the Observatory.” Bloomberg, July 27

Even Aljazeera uses the observatory as a primary source: “Civilians crowded into basements seeking refuge from the bombing, with the SOHR’s Rami Abdel Rahman describing the clashes as the uprisings fiercest“. Aljazeera, July 29

The Western media apparently ignores itself. Reuters, which uses Observatory reports, did a profile of the organization and concluded that “it is virtually impossible to verify any data trickling out of the country.” The media also ignored a major investigative article in Alakhbar, January 26. It provides more than enough reasons to question the death toll estimates, action reports, and the stability of the Observatory.

If regime change is such a great idea, why twist the truth and torture logic?

The ruling elite want to keep its Saudi oil connection pumping and the contracts from the Gulf States alive. It is about oil and money. But it’s about much more than that.

The Money Party (aka ruling elite) has one set of tactics for achieving their goals — intimidation, subversion, war, and destruction. These are very blunt instruments. Why not? Who will stop them? Assad is pro-Iranian, he’s in power, and he won’t leave. So, what to do? Take control of the storyline, create a rationale for the anti-Syrian campaign, and get your minions in the two parties and the corporate media to execute the strategy.

While the country and much of the world languishes in a real depression, the leaders waste time on projects like this. As we face the imminent decline in the ability of the environment to support the human population, there’s no real effort to address that issue. The leaders are just too busy with Syria.

This time, they may not get their way. As Steve Hynd noted on July 20 and the Guardian’s Luke Harding reported, we’re looking a conflict that could take years.

What will The Money Party do if it doesn’t get its way right away? Does the term false flag ring a bell?

February 1, 2007: “If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq (Syria), the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a defensive U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan”” (Zbigniew Brzezinski, Senate Foreign Relations Committee countering George W Bush’s push for an attack on Iran – See Quds Force II – the Storyline Repeats Itself)

Submitters Bio:

Michael Collins is a writer in the DC area who researches and comments on the corruptions of the new millennium. His articles focus on the financial manipulations of The Money Party, the abuse of power by government, and features on elections and election fraud. His articles can be found a here. His website is The Money PartyRSS


Father Roy writes:  Ray McGovern does not trust Israeli intelligence.  McGovern (born 1939) is a retired CIA officer turned political activist.  McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them.  I’ve done some highlighting in his essay pasted below.   Peace, Roy

Is Israel Fixing the Intelligence to Justify an Attack on Iran?

By Ray McGovern

July 31, 2012 “The Baltimore Sun” —

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s strong pro-Israel statements over the weekend, including his endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (a reversal of long-standing U.S. policy), increases the pressure on President Barack Obama to prove that he is an equally strong backer of Israel.

The key question is whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will interpret the presidential campaign rhetoric as an open invitation to provoke hostilities with Iran, in the expectation that President Obama will feel forced to jump in with both feet in support of our “ally” Israel. (Since there is no mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and Israel, “ally” actually is a misnomer — at least in a juridical sense.)

As we saw 10 years ago with respect to Iraq, if one intends to whip up support for war, one needs to find a casus belli — however thin a pretext it might be. How about juxtaposing “weapons of mass destruction” with terrorism. That worked to prepare for war on Iraq, and similar rhetorical groundwork for an attack on Iran is now being laid in Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu broke all records for speed in blaming Iran and Hezbollah for the recent terrorist attack that killed five Israelis in Burgas, Bulgaria, and in vowing that “Israel will react powerfully against Iranian terror.”

But what is the evidence on Iranian or Hezbollah involvement? Bulgarian officials keep saying they have no such evidence. More surprising still, government officials in Washington and elsewhere keep warning against jumping to conclusions.

So far the “evidence” against Iran consists primarily of trust-me assertions by Mr. Netanyahu. On Fox News Sunday on July 22, Mr. Netanyahu claimed Israel has “rock-solid evidence” tying Iran to the attack in Bulgaria. The same day onCBS’s Face the Nation, Mr. Netanyahu said, “We have unquestionable, fully substantiated intelligence that this [terrorist attack] was done by Hezbollah backed by Iran,” adding that Israel gives “specific details to … responsible governments and agencies.” Did the Israelis somehow forget to give “specific details” to Bulgarian and U.S. officials?

At a joint news conference with White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan in Sofia early last week, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov admitted that he was aware of no information concerning the terrorist or those who dispatched him.

Mr. Brennan’s July 25 talks with top Israeli officials, it appears, were similarly unproductive. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on July 26: “A week after the Burgas attacks, Israeli, Bulgarian, and U.S. [officials] still have no leads regarding the identity of the suicide bomber.”

These events took place against an historical backdrop pregnant with relevance. July 23 was the 10th anniversary of a meeting at 10 Downing Street, at which the head British intelligence casually revealed the fraudulent origins of the coming attack on Iraq.

The official minutes of that meeting were leaked to London’s Sunday Times, which ran them on its front page May 1, 2005. No one has disputed their authenticity.
This is how the minutes record the core of the briefing by Sir Richard Dearlove, the British intelligence chief, who had just conferred with his U.S. counterpart, George Tenet, at CIA headquarters on July 20, 2002, on what was in store for Iraq:

“… Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. …”

The “fixing” of intelligence is bad enough. But note Mr. Dearlove’s explanation that war with Iraq was to be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Translation: We will claim Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and that he might well give them to terrorists — unless he is stopped forthwith.

Mr. Netanyahu is now taking the same line on Iran. On Face the Nation on July 22, he pointedly asked: “Just imagine what the consequences would be if these people [terrorists] and this regime [Iran] got a hold of nuclear weapons. … [We need to] make sure that the world’s most dangerous regime doesn’t get the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

Never mind the elusive evidence on the perpetrators of the attack in Bulgaria. Never mind that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta posed a question to himself on Face the Nation on January 8 and then answered it: “Are they [the Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” Never mind that 10 days later Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack said essentially the same thing during an interview on Israeli Army Radio.

The likelihood of hostilities with Iran before the presidential election in November is increasing. Beware of “fixed” intelligence.


Father Roy writes: Peers,please read my highlight in the first paragraph of the post pasted below.  All the rest is commentary.Peace,Roy+… 

2 August 2012

Roger Waters and BDS: Moral Courage and Unwavering Commitment to Human Rights

 “Where governments refuse to act people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government’s policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.” – Roger Waters [1]

With this simple yet compelling logic and exceptional sense of moral responsibility to end complicity in the commission of injustice, Roger Waters announced on the pages of The Guardian his endorsement of the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement.  His move has effectively ushered in a new phase in the spread of BDS to millions across the world who had not previously heard of the budding rights-based movement.

In the same statement, Waters issued a plea to his “colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines” to join the cultural boycott of Israel, in particular, comparing Israel’s system of oppression of the Palestinian people to South Africa’s apartheid regime and recalling how artists boycotted the latter and its infamous Sun City resort as a matter of moral duty.

Roger Waters is certainly not the first nor the only prominent cultural figure to call for a cultural boycott of Israel. World renowned and bestselling authors, including John Berger, Alice Walker, Naomi Klein, Henning Mankell, and Iain Banks; prize-winning filmmakers, including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, the Yes Men, and John Greyson; violinist Nigel Kennedy and classical guitarist John Williams; the Irish artists union, Aosdana; and Belgian dance sensations Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Alain Platel were all among many famous cultural figures around the world that have all endorsed one form or another of the Israel boycott in the cultural sphere.  Hundreds of artists in Montreal, Canada, Ireland, South Africa and India have also formed artists-against-Israeli-apartheid type groups that have played a critical role in spreading the cultural boycott into the mainstream.

Yet, Waters’s endorsement of BDS carries special significance, given the combination of his eminence in the rock music world where he enjoys a mass base of millions of fans, his inspiring courage in going all the way in advocating BDS, and his unwavering commitment to speak truth to power in defending equal human rights for all humans.

Towards the end of March of this year, for instance, Roger Waters surprised leading international media outlets and millions around the world when he announced at a press conference in Brazil a ground-breaking social forum for Palestine to be held in Porto Alegre later this year. With his typical modesty and charm, he stated:

“I am honored to have been asked by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, to announce an initiative, to hold the World Social Forum Free Palestine in Porto Alegre, Brazil in November of this year, in cooperation with the Brazilian social movement and international civil society networks.”[2]

But he did not stop at that. He explained exactly why he considers himself part of the global BDS movement saying:

“We will continue our call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, for the tearing down of The Walls of colonization and apartheid, for the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, for the granting of full and equal rights to the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and for promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as required by the Geneva convention, as stipulated in UN resolution 194, in 1949 and as restated by the International Court of Justice on the 9th of July 2004.”

This level of political awareness and unwavering commitment to Palestinian rights – both extremely rare among stars of the stature of Waters – were born out of Waters’s history of advocating human rights around the world and his unique experience with the question of Palestine, first through his father’s eyes and later through his own.  “My conviction is born in the idea that all people deserve basic human rights,” he reminds us.  When he visited occupied Jerusalem and Bethlehem in 2006 he wrote: “Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day,” adding [3]:

“In my view, the abhorrent and draconian control that Israel wields over the besieged Palestinians in Gaza and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), coupled with its denial of the rights of refugees to return to their homes in Israel, demands that fair-minded people around the world support the Palestinians in their civil, nonviolent resistance.”

And when human rights activists, advocating for divestment of the Presbyterian Church USA from corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation, asked for Roger Waters’s support during his most recent US concert tour, he did not hesitate, despite the potential damage that a pro-BDS position may cause given the bullying and intimidation tactics adopted by Israel lobby groups.  He wrote a moving opinion column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where he stated in crystal clear language his support for the Presbyterian divestment drive [4]

“I applaud the Presbyterian initiative. In fact, I support the more wide-ranging BDS campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and have called on my fellow musicians to follow suit, just as we did in opposition to apartheid South Africa.”

Roger Waters has set an example in moral responsibility and in redefining the role of artists, especially illustrious ones, in using their unique access to the world stage to stand up for rights, for justice and against all oppression.  For this and everything else that Waters has stood for, he has won the hearts and deep appreciation of Palestinians and people of conscience everywhere.