Dear Mr Sheldon,
Although I am not certain you are the correct person to address regarding this matter, I will start with you and go from there depending on the response. As I am sure you are aware, there are a large number of people, not only from Long Island but from all over the tri-state area, and the entire world for that matter, that find Roger Waters to be an offensive anti-Semite with views riddled with hypocrisy and hate. While I agree with the concept of keeping musical performances separate from political ideology, in essence meaning an entertainer can believe whatever he or she chooses to believe without having concern for their right to perform, in the case of Roger Waters this very issue is what makes it imperative that his upcoming concerts at the Nassau Coliseum get cancelled. Please allow me to explain why.
As a Jew and a Zionist my personal views for Roger Waters are anything but positive. His unrelenting attacks on the State of Israel, much of it through his activism in the BDS Movement, attacks that border on obsession, are so filled with a one-sided hate for the Jewish element in Israel, I would believe that alone would be enough to have him unfit to perform at your venue. I do not sit here writing you this letter to make an argument for Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians, but I will make a point of saying that anyone who refuses to even entertain at least some culpability on the part of Palestinian leadership is clearly biased in one direction. Since that bias is directed towards the Jewish leadership in Israel it is clearly more than just anti-Zionism, it is unquestionably anti-Semitism. In allowing his shows to go on, you are allowing an individual filled with hate to represent himself on your stage, a stage located in the midst of a vast Jewish population.
All that being said, there is a far more basic and solid reason to be made against his performance. To quote his very own words, words he spoke in response to hearing of the efforts to stop his shows from going on, Waters said his shows would not be cancelled, “insisting a performer’s rights should not be under attack because of his or her beliefs.” This glaring hypocrisy from a man who has attacked and harassed some of the most established and successful musicians in the world for performing in Israel. Here are a few examples of comments he made to fellow musicians.
To Bon Jovi:
“You stand shoulder to shoulder with the settler who burned the baby. The dead can’t remind you of the crimes you’ve ignored.”
To Thom Yorke of Radiohead
“My answer to people who say we should go there and sit around the campfire and sing songs: No, we shouldn’t. We should observe the picket line. Anybody who’s tempted to do that, like our friends in Radiohead, if only they would actually educate themselves. I know Thom Yorke’s been whining about how he feels insulted, people are suggesting he doesn’t know what’s going on.”
To the Rolling Stones
“Regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime.”
Star like Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys and Neil Young have all been pressured by Waters to cancel performances in Israel. Sir Paul and Keys even revealing being the victims of death threats and intimidation, all spurred on by the same Waters who insisted “a performer’s rights should not be under attack because of his or her beliefs.”
You have an unprecedented opportunity here. Rather than cancel his concerts, you can make them conditional. Conditional on Roger Waters publicly declaring the same stance towards performers choosing to perform in Israel that he feels he is entitled to on Long Island. That being as he said, the right to perform somewhere regardless of one’s beliefs. Should he accept the terms, he will be exposed further as the hypocrite that he is, but in doing so an enemy of the only democracy in the Middle East will no longer harass his fellow musicians. Should he refuse and cancel his own concerts, the message you will send to the people of Long Island and many miles beyond will solidify the Nassau Coliseum as more than just a building with a big hall, it will establish it as a place where true performers and artists are showcased. It will unquestionably be better for business in the long run and will establish a close bond with the community.
I am sending this letter to you first, but also intend to attempt to work on having it signed and presented as a petition in the hope that the number of signatures gives you an indication of how important this is to many people wishing to be future patrons of your venue.
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