Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters has joined a campaign calling on the Chemical Brothers to withdraw from a forthcoming show in Tel Aviv. Waters has signed an open letter at artistsforpalestine.org.uk, which tells the dance duo: “Your recording company, Virgin EMI, may tell you that playing Tel Aviv on November 12 is a cool thing to do. But Tel Aviv’s hipster vibe is a bubble on the surface of a very deep security state that drove out half the indigenous Palestinian population in 1948 and has no intention of letting their descendants back in.”
In addition to the letter from Artists for Palestine – also signed by actor Maxine Peake and playwright Caryl Churchill, among others – more than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Chemical Brothers to cancel the gig.
“When international artists, such as the Chemical Brothers, perform at Israeli cultural venues and institutions, they help to create the false impression that Israel is a ‘normal’ country just like any other,” the petition states. “Artists both on stage and in the media make pious comments about ‘peace’ and ‘coexistence’, whilst hinting that the occupied and occupier should ‘live side by side’. This doesn’t change the fact that artists that are performing in Israel are actually taking part in whitewashing the occupation and apartheid.”
Though tickets are on sale for the show, it is not listed in the upcoming dates section of the Chemical Brothers’ website.
Those campaigning for the duo – Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons – to withdraw say the Chemical Brothers told Israeli media, when asked about the demand: “Pressure was not applied to us. We will go to any place where young people want to see us playing. We are not really involved in all the rest.” The outlet that printed the interview is Hebrew only.
The Guardian has contacted the Chemical Brothers’ Ed Simons, asking for his response.
Last month, Waters joined forces with his old Pink Floyd bandmates David Gilmour and Nick Mason to offer support for the Women’s Boat to Gaza, which was intercepted by the Israeli navy on a voyage from Barcelona to Gaza.