I found myself sitting in a room one Friday night on the campus of Bar Ilan University with friends and friends of friends from America, Canada, Israel, France and South America. We didn’t speak the same language, but we forged communication by singing together until 1:30 in the morning. I realized then that music may be the single strongest means of unification. It’s a universal language. While every culture has its own style, music is still composed of the same notes that we’ve all learned to hum since we could speak. A single song can turn complete strangers or even enemies into brothers.
Perhaps it is for this reason that Roger Waters’ campaign to prevent musicians from performing in Israel is such a thorn in my side. Concerts may be one of the largest forums that attract and unite residents of Israel across the religious spectrum, and a man who claims to be pro-peace has made it his goal to send one of our only common languages into extinction. I’d like that peaceful man to explain why he insists on tearing up one of the only the common grounds upon which Israel’s diverse population can stand.
No, Roger Waters is not making a difference or doing good in the world; he’s not making anything but noise nor doing anything but inciting more hate. Alan Parsons and other brave celebrities like him are making a difference. After being pressured into canceling his performance in Israel, Alan Parsons elucidated the separation he believes exists between music and politics. Guy Erez, Parson’s bassist, questioned Water’s efforts and asked how using music to separate people could accomplish more than using it to bring people together. Guy Erez asked why Roger Waters isn’t fighting for an organization that would bring Israeli and Palestinian kids together to bond over music as opposed to investing the same effort in alienating Israel. Guy Erez is making a difference. Roger Waters is making noise and inciting hate.
Justin Timberlake, who held a concert in Israel last summer and stood strong when he came under attack, is making a difference. An artist who rises above the pressure and uses his gifts to unite people instead of his popularity to tear them apart is making a difference. Roger Waters is just making noise and inciting hate. Let this article be a shout out to Alan Parsons and Justin Timberlake for using music to bring people together. Let it also be a wakeup call to Dave Matthews and other artists upon whom we’re waiting to pay a visit. You don’t want to mix music with politics? Music isn’t about discrimination or hate; it’s about togetherness, and it’s about love. Refusing to use your gifts as a means of unification in a certain country because of their government’s policies is the biggest political statement that you can make.