TEL AVIV – Number one celebrity boycotter of Israel, Roger Waters, attended a conference hosted by Israel’s leftwing Haaretz newspaper in New York, triggering extreme reactions from an angry Israeli public. The newspaper also sparked controversy when it chose to give in to PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat’s demand that the Israeli flag be removed while he spoke at the conference.
Waters, the former bassist for the legendary band Pink Floyd, appeared in selfies alongside various Israeli journalists including Channel 2 anchor Amit Segal and Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev. The latter tweeted the selfie with the caption, “Boycott/shmoycott, no Pink Floyd addict can resist the thrill of meeting Roger Waters.” Meanwhile Segal posted his selfie with Waters on his Facebook page.
Underneath he wrote:
“Roger Waters is standing ahead of me in line for the buffet at the Haaretz conference. I’m deciding whether to tell him that the wine is made in the settlements so he’ll go and free up some space.”
The post garnered more than 14,000 likes in under 24 hours, but the responses were not positive.
“Tell him that he’s a gifted artist and a s***, sad, and bitter human being who only knows how to boycott Israel, give him a good fist and then get his signature,” wrote one follower.
Another commenter reprimanded Segal, saying, “With all due respect, if you take a picture with him, you give him more legitimacy. Shame.”
Others called the conference, which was cosponsored by the far-left NGO the New Israel Fund, a hate-fest for people who do not care about Israel’s welfare. One commenter wrote, “If Roger Waters comes it’s a telltale sign that there were just a few people at the conference who could call themselves ‘friends of Zion.’”
Waters is an outspoken supporter of the boycott movement and described Israel as an apartheid state in a speech at the UN. He also regularly pressures fellow artists and musicians not to perform in Israel. Many musicians have cancelled Israeli tour dates at the last minute, including Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, and Lauren Hill. However, one artist who chose to defy Waters’ bullying tactics was Jon Bon Jovi, who performed in Tel Aviv over the summer and even told the audience to adopt his song “We Don’t Run.”
Meanwhile, Israeli politicians slammed Haaretz’s decision to remove the Israeli flag ahead of a speech by senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat.
The leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, said the move “exemplifies the extreme left’s loss of any remaining national pride.”
Zionist Union Knesset Member Omer Bar-Lev immediately fired back, “How far will Lapid stoop? He expected Saeb Erekat to speak near our flag so he (Lapid) could feel patriotic? What’s next? A Jewish National Fund charity box in Obama’s office?”