Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League has responded to Roger Waters’s appeal to the rock and roll community to boycott Israel with an open letter smearing him as an anti-Semite because he’s focused on Israel rather than Myanmar, China, Russia and Turkey. (By this standard Martin Luther King Jr. would have had to focus on every problem in America to avoid being called anti-white.) The letter is filled with wild jabs and swings– Foxman is very concerned about the growing isolation of the Jewish state. Excerpts:
Dear Mr. Waters,
…In recent months, however, your relentless attacks against Israel and calls for a boycott of the Jewish State have caused us to reexamine your attitude towards Jews.
In your July 25th letter to your “Colleagues in Rock and Roll” you offered full-throated unambiguous support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, writing that their goal is “to bring international attention to these Israeli polices [of ‘occupation of the West Bank and violations of international law and Palestinian human rights’] and hopefully, to help bring them to an end,” and imploring other musicians to join you in refusing to perform in Israel.
Important details are omitted from your letter, which is a classic propaganda technique. Why didn’t you point out that one of the stated objectives of the BDS movement, promoting a complete right of return for all Palestinians classified as refugees and the creation of a bi-national state, would result in the end of the Jewish character of the State of Israel and destroy Jewish national self-determination?…
You accuse the Israeli government of committing ethnic cleansing by physically evicting non-Jewish families from East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish occupants, yet provide zero evidence for this frivolous claim. You argue that Israel is akin to Apartheid South Africa, despite the complete and equal rights enjoyed by Arab citizens of Israel.
Most disturbing of all is your decision to single out Israel for a boycott, while ignoring real human rights abusing countries around the world.
Where is your voice calling for a boycott of China for their persecution of Buddhists, or the persecution of Muslims by Buddhists in Myanmar? Why not Russia for its ongoing suppression of government opposition figures, and recent enactment of homophobic legislation?..
Your single-minded obsession with trying to convince others to boycott the Jewish state, while ignoring the world’s true human rights violators, must be driven by something other than a guilty conscience. Taking all this into account, one must conclude that your views on Israel are in fact colored by offensive and dangerous undercurrents of anti-Jewish sentiment.
If you were truly interested in leading an honest human rights campaign, you could start by speaking out against policies of the above-mentioned countries, as well as many others that commit actual crimes against their citizens. And if you wanted to sincerely address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you could express your support for a two-state solution, and encourage your fellow musicians to embrace the notion of Israel living in peace and security with a Palestinian state….
As to propaganda and frivolous claims, Israel has revoked residency rights of 14,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem since 1967– recently Suheir Azzouni’s family. Haaretz has said that Israel’s official policy is to “Judaize” Palestinian land.
And apartheid? Many have said that it is the political reality of conditions in the West Bank. Lately Roane Carey said as much. Jeffrey Goldberg says it’s “provisionally apartheid.” Longtime Israel supporter Stephen Robert called it apartheid on steroids.