Not how you tear down a wall

Op-ed: In open letter to Roger Waters, Israeli concert promoters say cultural boycott not conducive to Mideast peace

Dear Mr. Waters,


No other artist in the world can influence the regional reality like you can. You, who performed at the greatest musical event in the region with a message of peace; who was familiar with the conflict and the fears that are associated with it; you, who met people from both sides of the fence, are now trying to deny this right from your peers by convincing them not to perform in Israel. At the same time you are touring the world with a show that is based on fear and the walls this fear creates, and by urging your peers not to perform here you are only enhancing the existing walls and creating new ones.


The reality hasn’t changed in the years that have passed since you performed here, when you sill believed it is possible to build bridges instead of walls. The Middle East has been burning for 65 years, since the State of Israel was established as a home to a nation that has known persecution, expulsion and genocide.


The regional political reality has never been more complex, but over the past few weeks it seemed that for the first time in years, real dialogue was taking place between the Israelis and Palestinians – even if at the end of the day we'll find out this is a dialogue of the deaf.


Like in Israel, over the past few years we have seen hesitant leaderships in several "leading" countries around the world, but this did not prevent artists from visiting these countries to perform for their fans and express their opinions.


During his visit to Jerusalem about a year ago, British novelist Ian McEwan said: "If you didn't go to countries whose foreign policy or domestic policy is screwed up, you'd never get out of bed… No, let us come and engage, keep talking. The worst thing that is going to happen is when everyone stops talking."


Coming to Israel with your show is not a political decision, or a question of conscience. The goal is to establish a relationship with your fans, inspire them, make them happy. We urge you and your peers not to bury your heads in the sand and come to Israel to create dialogue among music lovers wherever they may be.


You should understand that this region can be a better place only if you encourage the many good people from both sides of the fence who believe the region's nations can live side by side in peace and are working towards this goal.


Shuki Weiss and Oren Arnon are concert promoters who brought Roger Waters to Israel in 2006



פרסום ראשון: 09.20.13, 12:17
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