This letter from Roger Waters was published a week ago by the York University Graduate Students Association in response to a dramatic mural at the York Student Centre. We felt it important to post it nonetheless. In light of the fact that the president of the school, Mamdouh Shoukri, has called the mural “offensive” to Jews and leaned on the students who control the building to take appropriate action; in light of the support for the mural voiced by 100 present and former faculty members; in view of the pressure being exerted by donor/media executive Paul Bronfman in an open letter, to withdraw “thousands of dollars” of support to the school because of the image, which he says is “pure hate”; in view of Steven Salaita’s piece on the case at EI, saying that Zionist pressure does not represent the Jewish community. –Editors.
Roger Waters 9th February 2016.
To The Editor
Re the mural depicting a bulldozer and a protester that hangs on a staircase at York University. Paul Bronfman, who is trying to use his economic muscle to effect the removal of this painting should note the following.
1. The figure in the foreground appears to be a protester considering throwing a stone or stones at a bulldozer about to destroy an olive tree. The protester may be Palestinian. If the scene depicted is anywhere in the territories occupied since 1967, this person has a legal and moral right, under the terms of article 4 of the Geneva conventions to resist the occupation of his homeland.
2. There is absolutely no indication that this person is a “Terrorist”. What ever that means? As we all know the word “Terrorist” has become a noun devoid of meaning. If it’s us, the good guys, we’re just defending ourselves and anything goes, if it’s them, the bad guys, they are “Terrorists”. One could if one wished suggest the routine demolition of homes and olive trees is a “Terrorist” tactic.
3. Protesting the Israeli occupation is not “Anti Semitic” It is a moral duty. Happily York University students and faculty members seem to recognize that protest is ok, and that freedom of speech is a fundamental right and not for sale to the likes of you.
4. The painting in question contains in its text the words “Justice” and “Peace”. I have no doubt that if the Palestinian people were to attain “Justice” under the law, there would be “Peace” in the Holy land.
5. In your attack, I note the word “Hate”.
6. I applaud the student body and faculty of York University for standing up to your bullying tactics.
7. Opinion in the Jewish community in the USA, and especially among young Jewish people, is turning away from the “Hatred” and “Bigotry” of hardline entrenched positions like yours, towards the dialogue and understanding espoused by groups like “Jewish Voice For Peace.”
8. The Tide Is Turning.
PS. Please pass my support on to the student body.