Attempting to turn the tables on the Israel-boycotting musician Roger Waters, the Zionist Organization of America on Friday condemned a number of leading American companies that own major stadiums across North America for hosting the former Pink Floyd singer’s current concert tour and urged them instead to dissociate themselves from him.
In allowing Waters to play at their venues, the hawkish Jewish group said, the corporations that own the various stadiums “are tarnishing their reputations by allowing their names to be associated with a vicious anti-Semite who promotes lies about Israel and the Jewish people.”
In a statement Friday, the American-Jewish organization slammed corporations including AT&T, Wells Fargo, Staples, American Airlines, Verizon and Prudential for giving a platform to Rogers, and urged them to “reject and condemn Waters and his hateful attacks against Jews and the Jewish State of Israel.”
Rogers is currently on tour in the US and Canada and is expected to stop in 46 cities for 61 concerts over the next several months to promote his latest album “Is This the Life We Really Want?”
The group also criticized radio stations across North America for promoting the concerts and giving away free tickets in various promotions.
ZOA said Waters is an “unabashed anti-Semitic bigot” and that fewer people should be exposed to his “Jew-hatred” and “lie-filled, hateful anti-Israel rants.”
“If Waters was viciously attacking another minority with lies and factual distortions, there’s no doubt that he would be a pariah and not welcome at a single concert venue,” said Morton A. Klein, the ZOA’s National President, and Steve Feldman, Executive Director of ZOA’s Greater Philadelphia chapter, which initiated the move.
“Corporations would not associate themselves or their names with him, and radio stations would not be promoting his concerts and encouraging people to attend them,” they wrote.
Rogers, an outspoken critic of Israel, is known for publicly harassing artists scheduled to visit the country or perform there. His latest target was Radiohead, scheduled to perform in Israel in July. But the band pushed back. It rejected a letter aimed to pressure it into canceling — signed by dozens of artists, and spearheaded by Waters and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement — and called the criticism “patronizing in the extreme.”
In 2013, the Anti-Defamation League, having previously defended Waters against charges of anti-Semitism, acknowledged that “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” have “seeped into the totality” of the former Pink Floyd frontman’s views.
“How sad that a creative genius could become so perverted by his own narrow-minded bigotry,” said then-national director of the ADL Abraham H. Foxman.
A cultural boycott campaign against Israel has had mixed success. Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana and Lauryn Hill have scrapped shows but Santana then played in Israel last summer and plenty of other major names including Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Lady Gaga, and Bon Jovi have performed in recent years. Rod Stewart played in Tel Aviv last month. Britney Spears is playing next month.