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BDS hates independent Black voices

Hamas-loving Roger Waters' call on Stevie Wonder to decline an Israeli honor is racist, condescending and rooted in anti-Semitic lies
In this October 17, 2017 photo, Stevie Wonder attends the TIDAL X: Brooklyn 3rd Annual Benefit Concert in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
In this October 17, 2017 photo, Stevie Wonder attends the TIDAL X: Brooklyn 3rd Annual Benefit Concert in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

In 1998, music legend Stevie Wonder performed at a gala commemorating Israel’s 50th anniversary. In 2012, after incessant petitioning from anti-Israel activists and coercing from the United Nations, Stevie Wonder cancelled his ‘Friends of the IDF’ concert, stating that he is and has always been “against war, any war, anywhere.” Many haters of Israel tend to interpret the cancellation as an anti-Israel statement by Wonder. It most certainly was not. To clarify his position, an article stated:

“A previous version also said Stevie Wonder refused to perform in Israel. In fact Wonder cancelled a planned performance at a Los Angeles fundraising concert sponsored by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. He then said he would make a donation to organizations that support Israeli and Palestinian children with disabilities.”

Furthermore, Stevie Wonder is now, in 2021, the recipient of Israel’s coveted Wolf Prize for “his tremendous contribution to music and society enriching the lives of entire generations of music lovers.” This has sparked much controversy in the anti-Israel space, particularly with pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) activist and former Pink Floyd bassist, Roger Waters. Waters is now dictating to Wonder that he should not accept the Wolf Prize from Israel. Waters says in a video to Wonder that “you would whitewashing [Israel] beyond all belief if you accept the Wolf Prize,” and that Israel is an “apartheid regime.”

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters touring Israel’s security barrier in the West Bank refugee camp of Aida near Bethlehem, June 2, 2009. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP Images)

It would behoove Roger Waters to know that despite his own passionate obsession with Jews and infatuation with Hamas, other artists do not have to follow in his misguided footsteps; the least of whom being Stevie Wonder. Just recently, CEO of DEISI International and Board Member of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Olga Meshoe Washington wrote an article about the bullying of South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for his pro-Israel statements. Chief Justice’s bullies demanded he apologize for saying he loves Israel.

We at IBSI sent out a tweet after these two events to say:

Whether a Black South African Chief Justice or a Black American music icon, Israel-haters feel they can dictate to Black people like the days of apartheid and Jim Crow segregation. #BDS is as racist as it is antisemitic.”

Beyond the eerie racist and condescending undertones of Waters’ message to Stevie Wonder, Waters continues to engage in falsehoods, tired tropes and blood libels against the Jewish people. Waters criticizes Israel in every war it fights against Hamas, conveniently leaving out the fact that every single one of those wars were defensive for Israel. Waters also conveniently leaves out what led to each of those wars, which has always been, without exception, Hamas attacking Israeli civilians. This includes, but is not limited to, raining down missiles on Israel, storming Israel’s border and stabbing Israeli women and children. This has happened in every war since Israeli forces withdrew its citizens from Gaza in 2005. Waters is always strangely silent when Jews are being attacked and killed, but has much to say when those Jews defend themselves. That is called antisemitism.

Perhaps the most egregious omission Waters constantly makes is that of Hamas. Roger Waters loves Hamas. Hamas, the terrorist organization devoted to eradicating Jews around the world. He has appeared on Hamas TV, perhaps the only television program that would host him as he spouted lies that Israel is the reason for police brutality in the U.S. (though the US police force predates Israel by about 100 years), and that the late Jewish businessman, Sheldon Adelson controls the U.S. and is “pulling the strings.” Waters does all of this while ignoring Hamas’ onslaught on Israeli citizens and its own people, the Palestinians of Gaza. Waters not only hates Jews, but he does so while feigning support for Palestinians, a people who are being oppressed by the leaders he gives fodder to.

The music legend, Stevie Wonder is free to make his own decision as to whether or not he will accept Israel’s Wolf Prize. It would not be wise, however, to take advice from rabid antisemites like Roger Waters. We at IBSI would suggest a little research into what Israel actually does to bring about peace in the region; from the Israeli hospital on the Syrian border, to Save a Child’s Heart, to all of the work they continue to do with Africa. We will not dictate because we know the truth will ultimately win out.

About the Author
Joshua is the Director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI) where he plans events and speaks. He’s a composition graduate of the University of Pacific’s Conservatory of Music. Joshua was formerly IBSI’s Director of Special Events, and planned music performances featuring The Hebrew Project Artists (THP) across the country. Joshua is also a graduate of CUFI’s 2016 Diversity Outreach Mentoring Endeavor (DOME), where he received training in Israel advocacy for diverse audiences. He was chosen to travel to Israel twice; once as part of CUFI’s millennial outreach, Israel Collective, and again as part of a music performance with Victor Styrsky’s Wild Branches & Friends. His other musical endeavors include writing for the Boston Pops, and music directing for other artists. Joshua is also a featured author on a collaborative book called 'Israelophobia and the West: The Hijacking of Civil Discourse on Israel and How to Rescue It' by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs official, Dan Diker.
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