December 12, 2013,
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
I’ve read some heavy-duty attacks on Israel and Jews in my time, but they pale beside the anti-Semitic diatribe recently offered by Roger Waters, Pink Floyd’s co-founder and former front man. In an interview with CounterPunch online magazine, Waters experienced a Jew-hating colonic where he purged himself of all the racist refuse that had accumulated in his putrid system and clearly required release.
Waters was on a roll, with no intention of stopping. Israel is “a brutal and oppressive regime.” And the Rabbis, oh, those murderous, racist rabbis. “The right wing rabbinate is so bizarre. They believe that everybody that is not a Jew is only on earth to serve them and the indigenous people of the region that they kicked off the land in 1948… since they are sub-human. The parallels with what went on in the 30’s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.”
The Jews are dumping a “huge bucket of crap that they are pouring into the mouth of a gullible public, in my view, when they say ‘we are afraid of Iran, it is going to get nuclear weapons’… It’s a diversionary tactic.”
I could go on quoting Waters’ interview but I’m getting nauseous just writing this stuff. Suffice it to say that he claims he was offered “£6 million” by a Jewish promoter to play in Israel but retorted, “Are you f—ing deaf or just dumb?! I am part of the BDS movement, I’m not going anywhere in Israel, for any money.” He then tried to dissuade Cyndi Lauper from playing in Israel.
I would assume that given his interview not too many Israelis will lament losing the chance to see a Pink Floyd reunion in Israel, and maybe we should just leave it at that. But even loathsome, stomach-turning anti-Semitism deserves a response in case gullible fans might actually believe this twisted, incendiary twaddle.
The Nazis, Mr. Waters, were a genocidal regime who murdered six million Jews. That you would have the audacity to compare Jews to monsters who murdered them shows you have no decency, you have no heart, you have no soul. The Jews of Germany did nothing to invite the aggression against them. Indeed, they were loyal citizens of a country that many of them had fought for courageously just twenty years earlier in the First World War. They did not blow up buses for political purposes. They did not send terrorists into schools to murder children. They did not preach that killing German children would get them virgins in heaven. They lived lives of humanity and decency and were murdered for no other reason than the fact that they were Jews.
You have disgraced yourself by comparing the martyred six million, which included one-and-a-half million children who were gassed to death in cold blood, to Palestinian terror organizations like Hamas, and to Hezbollah, both of whose stated intention it is to wipe Israel off the map.
The Palestinians were given endless opportunities to live with Israel in peace, including the 1936-1937 Peel Commission, which partitioned the land into two states, and the UN partition plan of 1947, both of which gave the Arabs far more land than the Jews. The Jews accepted the offer and the Arabs rejected it and dedicated themselves to Israel’s destruction. If you don’t believe me, Mr. Waters, then surely even a bigoted ignoramus like you is capable of accessing Wikipedia or opening a Britannica.
After the Arabs launched another war of annihilation against Israel in 1967, the Jews miraculously defeated four invading Arab armies and conquered huge tracts of land. Rather than practicing any kind of ethnic cleansing, Israel gave back the entire Sinai Peninsula — an area three times the size of Israel — to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty, and announced that they would leave the Arabs and the Muslim Waqf in charge of the holiest site in all of Judaism, the Temple Mount. This act of accommodation has no precedent in the history of the world.
Still, in 1964 Arafat launched the PLO, with its declared intention of liberating the land through armed struggle and destroying the Zionist presence. Terrible terrorist outrages like the 1970 Avivim school bus massacre and the 1974 Ma’alot school massacre followed. Still, Israel never relinquished its hope that Arab leaders who were sincere about peace might arise.
In 2005 Israel voluntarily withdrew from all of Gaza. Their reward? Hamas, with its genocidal charter against Israel, was voted into power and almost immediately began launching thousands of rockets into Israel, targeting homes, schools, and buses filled with children.
I have long preached how we Jews owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Islam for welcoming us in after repeated Christian expulsions, especially from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1498. Islam, as a great world religion that has often protected Jews, is stained by those who murder in its name and by hate-filled buffoons like Waters who defend atrocities perpetrated by those who claim to lead lives of faith. Likewise, the moral equivalency between Hamas firing rockets to intentionally murder a pregnant woman, as it did last year, November 15, 2012, with 26-year-old Mira Sharf, and Israel’s responding by taking out Hamas military commanders like Ahmed al-Jabari, the mastermind of so many acts of terror, is itself repugnant. The Ten Commandments says, “Thou shalt not murder,” rather than “Thou shalt not kill.” Murder is the taking of innocent life in cold blood. Killing is protecting the innocent from murderers as an act of self-defense. There, in a nutshell, is the difference between Hamas and Israel.
Muslims have every right to expect that Jews in general, and rabbis in particular, similarly condemn any acts of violence intentionally directed at any Arab civilian. We are all equally children of one God.
Hamas’ values are just as much a disgrace to the peace-loving principles of Islam. Hamas is motivated not by Palestinian freedom but by hatred of Jews. Hamas’ charter continues to call for genocide against Israel and the Jewish people: “The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, O Muslims… there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
When Hamas came to power in 2006, they channeled the billions they received as the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid into rockets rather than hospitals, bombs rather than universities. And they intentionally launch their rockets from nurseries and schools turning the innocent Palestinian population into human shields, not surprising for an organization which regularly murders Palestinian homosexuals under the false accusation of collaboration and engages in honor killings of young Palestinian women whose only crime is to have a boyfriend.
I recognize and mourn the loss, in extreme circumstances, of innocent Palestinian life amid Israel’s attempts to destroy the Hamas terrorism infrastructure. Even the most advanced military instruments that Israel employs in order to reduce as much as humanly possible any and all civilian collateral casualties are still ultimately imprecise. Every Arab life is the equal of every Jewish life, and Israel goes to lengths unmatched in modern warfare to avoid innocent deaths. But what choice does Israel have when Hamas has coiled itself around Gaza like a poisonous viper, bringing suffering to Palestinian and Israeli alike.
Waters’ balderdash about rabbis believing that non-Jews are subhumans is the dirtiest of blood libels and contradicts the core teachings of the Torah which states in its very first chapter, Genesis 1, that every human being is created equally in the image of God.
And surely, even someone with as rancid a heart as Waters is familiar with what Christians call Jesus’ Golden rule, but which is actually found in the Hebrew Bible, the commandment to ?“Love your fellow man as yourself” (Leviticus 19.17), which Hillel, in the Talmud, interpreted to mean, “That which you hate do not do unto others.”
Perhaps Waters should take Hillel’s advice to his desiccated soul and stop maligning a people who have paid a terrible price for the kind of abominable lies that people like Waters unjustly hurl.