Roger Waters urges Presbyterians to divest

on 18 Comments

The Presbyterians are meeting in Pittsburgh today. They may vote on divestment resolutions starting today. And here is a stirring piece by Roger Waters in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette calling on the Presbyterian church to divest from three companies that do business in the occupation. What generosity of spirit: Waters says that when he wrote the anthemic song The Wall 30 years ago, he thought it was about his own emotional isolation because of his father’s death in World War II. As years went by, and South African demonstrators sang it, and it was banned in the country, he understood it had a larger meaning. Now when he sings it, he tells audiences about the Israeli occupation, which shocked him when he first saw it in 2006. Note that the Post-Gazette will be running a rabbi’s anti-divestment piece tomorrow, the balancing act. Waters:

The theatrical wall I build each night serves as a metaphor for all the walls erected to separate us, human being from human being: walls between rich and poor, between opposing cultural, political or religious ideologies and particularly between the oppressor and the oppressed. The Israeli wall in the West Bank is a particularly graphic example. I make reference to that wall every night in my concert, but the injustices faced by Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal occupation and apartheid are not adequately addressed through theater and music alone. They warrant other forms of comment.

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.

…The waters of this debate will inevitably be muddied, as they always are, by erroneous accusations of anti-Semitism leveled at those who favor selective divestment from companies complicit in Israel’s long record of human rights violations. I urge the Presbyterians assembled in Pittsburgh not to be intimidated, but to stand confident with the support of people of conscience everywhere, including tens of thousands of Jewish Americans who support divestment as an ethical obligation to end complicity in the occupation. I urge Presbyterians to adopt their selective divestment motion to make the price of collusion in human rights violations higher, and to send a message of hope to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Good faith attempts to peacefully bring pressure on Israel to change its policies are no more anti-Semitic than similar actions against the South African apartheid regime were anti-Christian or anti-white.

In solidarity with Palestinian civil society and the nonviolent resistance movement in Israel itself, those of us involved in the struggle for Palestinian self-determination and freedom, including supporters of the BDS campaign against Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law, will ignore the increasingly strident slanders of the Israel lobby and continue our nonviolent campaign. This is what solidarity and compassion look like. This is how we will win against injustice.

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18 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    July 2, 2012, 11:16 am

    Take that, anti-drug moralizers – this cat has spent decades in a pyschodelic trance but still knows right from wrong, which is waaaaaaaay more than I can say about all these so called “serious” people.

    LSD for the Win!

    • Krauss
      July 2, 2012, 1:42 pm

      That’s a bit of a jump, Dan. Besides, Mr. Waters is an English gentleman who likes to go fishing in the countryside all by himself. The music is and the LSD is just, shall we say, the dark side of the Moon.

      • Dan Crowther
        July 2, 2012, 2:31 pm

        Krauss, your comment makes me think you’re a guy who irons his underwear. Lighten up, Francis.

  2. Winnica
    July 2, 2012, 11:28 am

    Meanwhile, Walter Russel Mead speculates that the dynamic is beginning to go in the opposite direction. Canda, Russia and others are beginning to regard Israel as an energy superpower, and Israel is beginning to wonder if perhaps it may be one in the making.
    Who do you suppose has more divisions: Putin, or the Presbytarians?

    • American
      July 2, 2012, 11:46 am

      “Who do you suppose has more divisions: Putin, or the Presbytarians?…Wiggie

      rotflmao!….I and probably most would love to give Israel to Russia and Putin.

    • Sumud
      July 2, 2012, 1:06 pm

      Meanwhile, Walter Russel Mead speculates that the dynamic is beginning to go in the opposite direction.

      He does, where? I read him writing that Israel may have energy reserves as yet undiscovered. And?

      He also writes they may have as much as KSA. That isn’t going to stop BDS.

      And I wonder how much of those oil reserves are actually outside Israel own declared borders from 1948/49…?

      Extracting them will be a war crime.

    • Krauss
      July 2, 2012, 1:46 pm

      Israel does indeed have quite a bit of natural gas. But Mr. Mead is a person with a long history of oversimplification.

      Israel won’t even cover it’s own domestic needs until the end of this decade and there are speculations if they can even get substantial exports going. There is a lot of conflict over that gas, including with Turkey. And you need to build the pipelines too.

      And finally, a lot of people think that reserves is the only thing that matter. But that isn’t the most crucial thing. It’s the rate of extraction that matters. Deepwater rigs cost a lot of money to run and operate, and the CapEx costs can only support a certain price at a certain volume. Shale oil is similar. It would take at least a decade to get significant production up and running.

      The Bakken oil shale plays in North Dakota have been in production since 1980s, and then I’m not even counting all the years it took to set it all up. And for the first 20 years, that oil shale produced precious little. It’s only in the last 4-5 years as critical mass was reached. And that oil shale is on land, which is much easier to extract(and much cheaper). And even so, oil shale costs about $60 dollars per oil barrel to produce, compared to 10-20 for normal conventional oil. For deep-sea oil shale, we’re talking about $80-$90 in a best-case scenario. And this requires huge CapEx investsments.

      And the size of the oil shale in Israel simply isn’t that huge compared to, say, Russia or America or even China. It’s substantial for a single country but not as a major exporter.
      And even the natural gas supply isn’t that enormous, more than enough for Israel, no doubt, but not much more. And as I’ve already noted, reserves shouldn’t be confused with the rate of maximum extraction of said resources, which is governed by a range of factors: politics, geology(we’re talking about deep-sea here), cost of front-loaded investments and costs of production. As well as the fact that unconventional/shale oil tend to have depletion rates which are much higher than conventional oil, this is also true for gas by the way).

      No doubt Israel will become self-sufficient in energy within this decade, which is good for any nation. But ‘energy superpower’? Only someone who hasn’t done the math can say something like that.

      • Mooser
        July 2, 2012, 2:39 pm

        “But Mr. Mead is a person with a long history of oversimplification.”

        Comes from listening to too much Pink Floyd, no doubt.

    • W.Jones
      July 2, 2012, 7:24 pm

      Wouldn’t “switching sides” to Russia and China be a downer for the community in the US? How would the “other side” feel about the burden of dealing with Arabic countries and their UN voting record. So I am doubtful about this for 2 or 3 reasons.

  3. HarryLaw
    July 2, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Aiding and Abetting 55[1a] and Assisting a grave war crime is how the Rome statute [ICC act UK 2001] describes Companies and others who invest in the settlement enterprise and the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to make way for them, enough of this, we don’t want to offend our Jewish friends idiocy, a crime is a crime whoever commits it, Knowing the difference between right and wrong is all the Presbyterians need to know.

  4. MRW
    July 2, 2012, 12:19 pm

    Roger Water’s entire op-ed bears reading.

    • Philip Weiss
      July 2, 2012, 12:39 pm

      yes. thanks mrw

      • YoungMassJew
        July 2, 2012, 2:26 pm

        *Danaa, sorry about that.

      • YoungMassJew
        July 2, 2012, 3:23 pm

        You guys are truly unreasonable. You’re going to loose a great person here when I start by own blog, at least I should at this point.

  5. seafoid
    July 2, 2012, 12:49 pm

    Waters urges Presbyterians to DIVEST from occupation

    Israel begs IMF to INVEST in occupation

    Israel recently asked the International Monetary Fund for a bridge loan of a $100 million dollars that it planned to transfer to the Palestinian Authority to help prevent its financial collapse, but the IMF turned down the request.
    The PA, which is not a state, cannot ask the IMF for help on its own. The plan therefore, was for Israel to take the loan on the Palestinians’ behalf, have the PA repay the loan to Israel, and Israel would repay the IMF. The IMF rejected the Israeli request, however, saying it did not want to set a precedent of a state taking a loan on behalf of a non-state entity.

  6. American
    July 2, 2012, 2:00 pm

    This:..what Waters points out about the “illegality” of Israel –and the fact the ‘law’ is doing nothing about it—-justifies to me any kind of religious interference or fight the Christian churches want to take on. The “Law”, those who are suppose to enforce or uphold it, aren ‘t doing their job so someone has to do it.
    If it causes a rift in Jewish-Christian relations then it just does….that relationship hasn’t benefited the Christians anyway as far as I can see and was at least partly I am sure, a deliberate movement by the Zionist to neuter another sector of the public for Israel.

    “The standard Israeli response to criticism of the wall is that it is solely for defense. If that is the case, why was it not built on the Green Line (the internationally agreed demarcation after the Six-Day War of 1967)? Why does it snake through Palestinian land, as Israel grabs more and more land each year for illegal, segregated, Jews-only settlements?

    No, this is not solely a defensive measure, this is a systematic colonization of conquered territory that contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention and was declared illegal in an advisory but unequivocal judgment by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2004.

    Read more:

  7. OlegR
    July 2, 2012, 4:08 pm

    Surprise surprise.
    Calling a hypocrite a hypocrite is forbidden here.

  8. flyod
    July 2, 2012, 8:25 pm

    waters has been paying attention forever. from his wonderful solo album “amused to death”

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