JERUSALEM – An event attended by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) was slammed by pro-Israel student groups over its claim that “Israel manipulates the minds of politicians and ordinary Americans.”
Wednesday’s event, hosted by the university’s chapter of anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), screened “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War on the United States,” a documentary produced by Sut Jhally, a communications professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and narrated by Waters.
According to an oped published in UCLA’s student newspaper by Jewish student leaders from various campus groups including Hillel, the film espoused the notion that Israel was to blame for turning American media into “well-oiled propaganda machines.”
By exerting [Israeli] influence through the “Israel lobby in America,” conniving Zionists have managed to divert attention from “apartheid” and “genocide,” and instead, rewrite a tale of victimhood by dramatizing the storyline of Jewish oppression.
The film is an intellectualization of the centuries-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that a group of powerful, manipulative and domination-obsessed Jews have gained control of politics and media through a combination of wealth, power, influence, and deceit. The film asserts that through sheer mendacity and careful scheming, Jews concocted stories of suffering, when in reality, they were the true oppressors.
By choosing to screen this film, Students for Justice in Palestine has unabashedly endorsed and legitimized this perception of the Jewish people. One is left to wonder: What conclusion is the campus community left to draw from this event? Are we so distanced from the shadows of history that we are unable to detect echoes of anti-Semitic conspiracy when it is brought to our very doorstep?
The students added that they published the oped “not to silence the viewpoints put forth in the film,” but to “combat bad speech with constructive speech.”
“Along with their right to screen this film comes our moral responsibility to call it what it is: inflammatory, anti-Semitic propaganda,” they wrote.
Waters is the self-appointed leader of the boycott Israel movement in showbiz. In the past, the Pink Floyd bassist has been accused of using bullying tactics to persuade other musicians not to perform in Israel.