Roger Waters pleads with Stevie Wonder to not to accept Israeli award

Roger Waters,at a news conference in Rome, Jan. 16, 2018. He is a leading celebrity in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. (Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images)

BY JORDAN PALMER

In a video released on Twitter, Roger Waters, the former lead singer of the British rock band, Pink Floyd called on legendary singer Stevie Wonder to not accept an award from Israel. The Wolf Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding scientists and artists from around the world. Last month, it was announced by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that Wonder and Australian composer Olga Neuworth would be receiving the award.

In his video, Waters makes a plea to Wonder to remember how he canceled a 2013 performance at a fundraising event for the Friends of Israel Defense Forces and that Wonder should reject and not accept the Wolf Prize. Wonder did indeed cancel the 2013 event, saying it was because of the “delicate situation in the Middle East. According the Jewish Journal, groups like the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (known today as the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian rights) had been urging Wonder to cancel at the time.

“This is an apartheid regime,” Waters said. “This is Israel. You will be whitewashing them beyond all belief.” He then acknowledged that he “wasn’t making much sense” and “rambling” after having nearly a full glass of wine.

Jewish and pro-Israel activists denounced Waters. “Where is Roger’s condemnation of Muslims being tortured in modern day camps in China? The famine happening in Yemen?” Liora Rez, director of Stop Antisemitism.org, said in a statement to the Jewish Journal. “This man’s obsessive condemnations are reserved only for Jews. Waters is an embarrassment to the entertainment community and for anyone to take him seriously in 2021 is laughable.”

Waters has come under fire for calling the late philanthropist Sheldon Adelson the “puppet master” over his ties to the Trump administration in June 2020 — which he issued an apology over — as well as for putting a Star of David on an inflatable pig in 2013. Waters also supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

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