Israeli paper misquoted Roger Waters, removing advice to Netanyahu to look for ‘Israeli de Klerk’

FW de Klerk, with Mandela

FW de Klerk, with Mandela

Roger Waters says that a leading Israeli newspaper misquoted him, removing his advice to Benjamin Netanyahu that he should look for the next F.W. de Klerk, the South African president who moved to end apartheid.

The published interview simply had the musician and activist telling Netanyahu to look for an Israeli “leader.”

Waters has released a transcript of his interview last month in Amsterdam with the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth. Made from his own recording, the text includes this exchange with reporter Alon Hadar:

Interviewer: What would you like to say to the Israeli Prime Minister?
Waters: How can I say this with still being kind? It’s beginning to look… increasingly unlikely that you’re the leader that’s going to solve this problem. So, if you care, you should probably spend as much of your time as you can trying to find the Israeli de Klerk. You need to find a leader who is capable of negotiating a peace like de Klerk did in South Africa. And that is a hard man to find. That is what is necessary.

When Yedioth Ahronoth published the interview in its magazine, it translated it into Hebrew, and removed the reference to de Klerk, based on this English transcript (which we picked up in September):

Q. If you were to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, what message would you have for him?

“I’m trying to think of how to say what I want and still be nice. OK, I guess I’ll say ‘it’s starting to look more and more unlikely that you will be the one that will solve this problem, so if you really care, you need to dedicate as much of your time as possible trying to find the Israeli leader that can do it.’”

Waters has objected to the mistranslation. He says that a friendly interview was thoroughly distorted in publication to make it look to Israelis as if he were in a dogfight with the reporter over his support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

[The interview] has been re-written as a combative, ill-natured, dog-fight. It appears, with all its distortions and untruths, to want to maintain the status quo, alienate me from my fans in Israel and retreat from any consideration of the position that all the peoples of the region deserve to live in peace and justice with equal rights for all under the same laws, irrespective of color, race or religion.

Here is the full text of Waters’s letter, which he published on Facebook, to the editor of Yedioth on Facebook. Here it is:

To the Editor

Dear Sir,

I do not read Hebrew so I have had to wait for a translation of the article your paper printed on Wednesday, 18th September, based upon an interview I did with Alon Hadar in Amsterdam the previous week.

Without wishing to fan the flames, I feel I owe it to my fans in Israel to correct the record on a number of points.

The article was a serious distortion of the actual interview I gave.

Both questions and answers were changed. I can only assume to suit an editorial agenda.

The measured, reasonable and humane conversation that Alon and I had in Amsterdam was intended as a way for me to communicate with my Israeli fans, to explain my position on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), to break down Walls, and shed light on possible misunderstandings and our shared predicament. It has been re-written as a combative, ill-natured, dog-fight. It appears, with all its distortions and untruths, to want to maintain the status quo, alienate me from my fans in Israel and retreat from any consideration of the position that all the peoples of the region deserve to live in peace and justice with equal rights for all under the same laws, irrespective of color, race or religion. I have today received and studied a transcript of the interview I gave. The thing that is most strikingly different between the actual interview and what you printed in your magazine is that you have rewritten all the questions. It is very shoddy journalism to hold up to be real, what is in fact, a fabrication. I attach a link to the transcript at the end of this letter, should your readers and my Israeli fans wish to know what really happened, and what was really said.

As for the article itself, the editorial content is littered with misinformation. As you know, I have an agreement with your paper that I have copy approval of my quotes. When I finally got an English translation of the article, even though there was very little time before you went to press, I sat up half the night trying to correct some of the worst errors. You largely ignored my input.

I intend no pettiness or rancor, but will mention two specific untruths.  Firstly, the article claims that I am constantly contacting other musicians trying to persuade them not to perform in Israel.  It’s simply not so. I have never written to Elton John or Rihanna. In fact, I have made no specific approach to anyone except Stevie Wonder, about an IDF fundraiser in Los Angeles, and Alicia Keys. There is one other Englishman, but my letter to him was in confidence and will remain so. That’s it. To their credit, Elvis Costello, and many others, supported BDS before me.

It is true I have recently written an open letter to my Colleagues in Rock and Roll declaring my support for BDS and asking them as a group to join the movement. We are attempting peacefully, through BDS, to encourage your government to change its colonial and apartheid policies.

There are many other distortions and untruths.  I shall mention but one more of them. Alon asked me what I would like to say to Benjamin Netanyahu. In my reply I suggested, that based on his record, it seemed unlikely he would be the one to negotiate a just peace and that he might better spend his time looking for ‘The One,’ the one who might be Israel’s ‘de Klerk.’

For anyone who may not know: F.W. de Klerk was the last white president of South Africa and is best known for brokering the end of apartheid, and supporting the transformation of South Africa into a multi-racial democracy by entering into the negotiations that resulted in all citizens, including the country’s black majority, having equal rights. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, along with Nelson Mandela, for his part in ending apartheid in South Africa. To be clear, I’m suggesting that Israel, like South Africa in the past, needs a leader who is prepared to negotiate a just and lasting peace based on equal rights.

I attach a translation of this letter in Hebrew and here is a link to a transcript of the whole on-the-record conversation I had with Alon in Amsterdam.  http://rogerwaters.com/interview

With respect,

Yours truly,

Roger Waters

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 21 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. just says:

    Mr. Waters is a great communicator in many forms………and he is a truth teller.

    On the other hand, the Zionists are deft liars. Look how they managed to deliberately mistranslate President Ahmadinejab’s remarks for sooooo long.

    • just says:

      Ahmadinejad.

      (apologies)

    • whats the big deal? we’re talking israel here. israel=lies. israel=deception.
      from the very beginning with that crap about winning their indepence it’s all been lies and crap imposed upon humanity
      i have a lot of respect for waters but he’s got to be crazy talking about this peace stuff.
      the last thing israel wants is peace, do you understand? this is the very reason for their psychotic existence. they can use their constant threats as an excuse to build up their military with their american weapons of mass destuction and attack and expand into their mythical “greater israel”
      if waters or anybody doesn’t understand this they’re crazy . listening to waters talk about his concerns about talking nice to neti is disgusting and leads me to believe he’s much less knowlegdeable than i had thought.
      israel is a runaway frieght train loaded with weapons of mass destruction and a paranoid psychotic at the wheel, being nice isn’t gonna stop it.

      • amigo says:

        “listening to waters talk about his concerns about talking nice to neti is disgusting and leads me to believe he’s much less knowlegdeable than i had thought.”JPB

        He is concerned about his Fans in Israel and how they view his approach to nietanyahu , who I dare say he does not give a rodents ass about.

  2. Woody Tanaka says:

    Yeah, that’s pretty awful of Yedioth Ahronoth. It completely changed the nature of Waters’ statement. They owe him a correction and an apology.

  3. K Renner says:

    He certainly has a lot of patience with their rubbish, doesn’t he?

    I doubt I’d be able to write a response to that sort of thing in a restrained fashion like he has.

  4. just says:

    And, that picture above is the beginning of peace and reconciliation and hope.

    It will take awhile, but these were 2 men who recognized “the writing on the wall”. I hope that one day Israel will find a human leader. There are plenty of Palestinian Gandhis and Mandelas. One only has to look and recognize the truth.

  5. RE: “Roger Waters says that a leading Israeli newspaper misquoted him, removing his advice to Benjamin Netanyahu that he should look for the next F.W. de Klerk, the South African president who moved to end apartheid. . . Waters has objected to the mistranslation. He says that a friendly interview was thoroughly distorted in publication to make it look like to Israelis as if he were in a dogfight with the reporter over his support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).” ~ Weiss

    URI AVNERY ON THE SORRY STATE OF THE ISRAELI MEDIA/PRESS AND THE “BRAINWASHING” OF THE ISRAELIS:
    “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [SEE: Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia - J.L.D. ]
    All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis.
    [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .
    . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .
    . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule.
    This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
    If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
    This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
    The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”
    , the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
    How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
    If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

  6. eGuard says:

    When I finally got an English translation … (to correct copy before publication). Was that an earlier English translation then? Does it differ from the recent one?

  7. eGuard says:

    Unbelievable. The interviewer, Alon Hadar, cries for his mother: Sometimes, when I write article, I write to my mother. And I know that my mother questions, and my mother, like in this point, she will ask, “And what about the Palestinians? You just blame the Israelis.” and Now, I think about my mother. My mother… My mother, when I was active in politics, and my mother wanted me to go to be a lawyer (page 4 of the RW transcript). What a brave man he is. Thinking so strong for himself.

  8. Citizen says:

    Waters get any main media exposure on this issue in USA’s news and infotainment channels?

  9. sandhillexit says:

    Miko Peled. He even looks like a man who knows that truth and beauty are related, it’s something in the eyes. They are not dead eyes, or snake eyes.

  10. yrn says:

    Yesterday José Feliciano performrf in Israel.
    As an answer to Roger Waters he mentioned.
    “I am excited to be the only democracy in the Middle East, and I hope that the other, non-democratic character of this area will understand that he should sit down for negotiations., And I will continue to love Israel even when I’m gone”.

    Some wants tickets to Rihanna or Tom Jones next week, there are a few left…….
    Put some more pressure….. maybe another call from Roger.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      LMAO. Jose Feliciano? Well, I’m not sure that Roger Waters is going to be too intimidated by the fact that a one-hit wonder, best known for a novelty Christmas song, played there.

      And, Tom Jones!! The octogenarians of Tel Aviv are going to be rocking it that night.

      • my thoughts exactly woody, i have not heard that name pop up since i was in high school. feliciano had that one hit back in the 60′s didn’t he?

        and tom jones eh. snazzy. apartheid w/flair. those collars he wears.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “my thoughts exactly woody, i have not heard that name pop up since i was in high school. feliciano had that one hit back in the 60′s didn’t he?”

          I only knew him from the Christmas song. Truth be told, I thought he died a few years ago until I looked it up.

      • yrn says:

        And, Tom Jones!! The octogenarians

        Like your Idol Roger Waters Born: September 6, 1943 (age 70)
        He is a real young rocker………………

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Like your Idol Roger Waters Born: September 6, 1943 (age 70)
          He is a real young rocker………………”

          He’s not my idol, just a good man and a great man.

          And I was talking about the fans, not the musicians. Roger Waters’ music is appreciated by fans of rock music of all ages and generations. The music of Tom Jones — the troubadour of Tel Aviv — is a punchline to a joke. The average age of a Tom Jones fan is “recently deceased.” Is there any musician out there who says that their main influence was “What’s New, Pussycat?”

    • eGuard says:

      yrn, another translation gone wrong? I like the ” permorfed in Israel” though.

  11. Fascinating. Yes, great advice for Israel.

  12. Feliciano Jose has already been erased and misquoted by Hamas run government news media .It is saying that how muchFeliciano love Hamas is beyond the imagination of his fans . Hamaines so happy that they have doled out more money to the media which is promising to attribute the observation of Walter Rogers to that of in fact of Nathayahoo. Hama has again been lauded for the vibrant positive attitude to the plurality of the political expression.