The run-up to Eurovision 2019 has been one of the most politically-charged ever, with seemingly endless comments regarding Israel, Palestine and the relationship between the two. As we previously reported, Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters already called on Portuguese artist Conan Osiris to boycott this year’s event. And now he’s spoken out again following the announcement that Madonna will perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

In an open letter published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Roger criticises the decision by the EBU to allow Israel to host Eurovision, and suggested that musicians should’ve stopped performing in Israel way back in 2004 when Palestinian civil society called for an academic and cultural ban of Israel. (We should point out that Pink Floyd actually performed in Neve-Shalom in Israel in June 2006 as part of their Dark Side Tour). The title of the letter is rather provocative and sums up his point of view: “If you believe in human rights, Madonna, don’t play Tel Aviv.”

Pink Floyd performing in Israel in 2006. Photo from www.pinkfloydz.com

He starts the letter by giving a brief lesson about the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and how this is relevant to the situation in disputed territories. He goes on to use colourful language to describe his opinion of his fellow artists who go over to Israel to perform, to help “build bridges and further the cause of peace”. He explains that “to perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalise the occupation”. He says that he supports people regardless of their religion, and says that calling him antisemitic is merely a smokescreen.

He urges all people — the young contestants in particular — to read the aforementioned UN Declaration of Human Rights as it is available in 500 languages.

Not just Madonna…

Roger has also spoken to the Greek branch of the BDS movement, and called for Katerine Duska to cancel her trip to Tel Aviv. He made the call on Wednesday, saying in Greek “going to Tel Aviv would be a big mistake, I believe”. Whilst he had already made an appeal to all 41 artists, Katerine, along with Portugal’s Conan, is one of the few artists Roger has targeted specifically. Hate to break it to him, but both of these fan favourites will be in Tel Aviv.

Some artists have come out to reject Roger’s calls, including Australia’s entrant Kate Miller-Hiedke. Kate’s response to the Associated Press was calm and reasoned. She says she has done her reading on the subject and made the personal decision that cultural boycotts don’t work that way, as people are talking about Israel now and learning about the situation there due to Eurovision being held there this year. As mentioned previously, after Conan from Portugal was called on by Roger, he also rejected the request to boycott.

Do you think Madonna will reply to Roger’s calls for a boycott on this occasion? Tweet us @wiwibloggs and leave a comment below.

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Charles II
Guest
Charles II

Well, you know, even Roger Waters (who actually performed in Israel for money of course in 2006) allegedly deserves his freedom of speech. However, when you draw the star of David on a pig in red, that kinda puts him with the worst of the Antesmites.
That kind of props use would have been a great show in Nazi Germany.
Freedom of speech revoked, Roge Roge!

***Just look for the combination “Roger waters+Star of David” on Google.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

The “Palestinian country” never existed. Please read history. And get your head checked.

Fred van Eijek
Guest
Fred van Eijek

Roger is an idiot

Fred van Eijek
Guest
Fred van Eijek

Roger was abs still an idiot.
He should promote human rights in the Arab countries before he comes to Israel.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Great Idea.

Cole
Guest
Cole

Might want to invest in a trampoline if you’re going to be making leaps like that.

Charles II
Guest
Charles II

Like he really cares about human rights…
He’s a hypocrite of the worst kind.
It appears he does not hesitate appearing in Russia with its record…

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

The two-State solution was offered up at least twice after 1948, by Israel, but what Israel got was a no. I would like to see that critics of Israel take a good look actions against Israel as well, for the sake of faireness. Also, learn about the history of Jews and history of Israel. Propaganda and misinformation against Israel unfortunately became an “art” which is perpetuaded by people with no direct knowledged about the situation there or people who are extremely biased or follow certain agendas. I am against human rights violations perpetrated by all those involved, against each other… Read more »

Nicolas
Guest
Nicolas

Roger I have an idea : offer Madonna 2 millions and I’m sure she will cancel it.

Piikatschoo
Guest
Piikatschoo

Exactly. Which speaks volumes about Madonna.

Laburnum
Guest
Laburnum

Does he believe that people have the freedom to do what they want regardless of his beliefs?

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

But he proves he’s missing the point of the UDHR. Plus, human rights apply to Israelis as well.

Eurolover
Guest
Eurolover

Roger Waters needs to get a life.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Why is it so often that the best musicians are the worst intellectuals?

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

The reason I do not agree with the BDS approach to the ongoing issue is that these kinds of boycotts never work. If you look at the situation with South Africa with Apartheid. It was economic pressure that brought all sides to the negotiating table. Plus the affected people in South Africa were not armed with weapons either. Like more than a few people on here, I cannot claim to know every nuance and situation going back to 2004 and even earlier. but I come down on the side of negotiation and meeting halfway to find common ground, because in… Read more »

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

This blog is giving the Waters story airtime.
I would like to legitimately ask the question: why?

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Why not? It’s still journalism.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Strikes me as free publicity rather than journalism.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

I see it as journalism but I see your point.

John
Guest
John

Moderate comment passing through. Waters has a principled position that comes from a place of concern and belief. I do not agree with it. My opinion is BDS is the wrong approach, and imposing a moral obligation on people to share your emphatic viewpoint is unfair to the artists. I’m emphatically neutral on the West Bank situation. I could read up on it for a week, a month, and still not feel like I knew enough to come down on one side. Why would anyone who doesn’t live there? It’s an awful situation. Pursue bridge building and a celebration of… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Can we really call it a principled position when he supports the Russian annexation of Crimea, called the White Helmets a “fake organization,” and referred to Venezuela under Maduro as a “true democracy”?

mark dowd
Guest
mark dowd

I suppose he’d like a visiting foreign Orchestra to pull out of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall because of the Windrush scandal as well …..

Alphalpha
Guest
Alphalpha

Madonna has also posed with war criminal Netanyahu, so she is mixing politics and art. Roger has a right to speak out on that.

Its me
Guest
Its me

Netanyaho is not a war criminal he is one of the best pepole on the world you dont nothint and deserver hell you hater

Tajikistan
Guest
Tajikistan

Where was his condemnation in 2012 when Azerbaijan hosted? Or 2009 when Russia hosted? Or last year when Belarus hosted the junior contest? All undemocratic human rights abusers, yet silence from this anti Semitic hypocrite…

Alphalpha
Guest
Alphalpha

Your whataboutism doesn’t take away from the human rights abuses of Israel. The antisemitism card has also been played to death.

Una
Guest
Una

Are you serious? Like someone said in a comment on a different article, anti-semitism is a very sad reality of this world. Read the newspapers. It happens everywhere. Jewish people too have human rights FFS.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Homework for Alphaalpha: 500 words on human rights abuses committed against Palestianians by non-Israelis.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

He is *so* shady towards Madonna: “I would urge all the young contestants – in fact all young people, in fact all people young and old alike, so that includes Madonna – to read the UN Declaration of Human Rights.” Yeah, Roger has a message 4 u, grandma!

John
Guest
John

Who’s Roger Waters? Ohhhh- he’s the sad man who put a huge ballon of a pig on stage with a star of David on his last tour. He’s jealous that Madonna will have in 10 min, a larger audience than has ever come to all his shows put together. SAD!

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

What he did is indefensible. Period. This jelousy theory crossed my mind, i was even wondering whether this mister wanted a spot in Eurovision, IN Israel.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights” has no legal standing. It’s a “declaration”. Mr. Waters should know that.

Una
Guest
Una

I thought that Eurovision artists should not get involved in discussions around politics in Eurovision and politics in general in the Eurovision sphere.
That man’s appeal should not be dignified with an answer. Eurovision is not the place for political debates between artists and other people. Not on politics anyway.

Ioa Ioa
Guest
Ioa Ioa

HYPROCITE!! You dont let artists perform in Israel while you did some years ago. Enough is enough.

Thiago
Guest
Thiago

Lol she’s getting like 1 million dollars to perform 2 songs, which she’ll actually sing about 50% of that time… I’m pretty sure human rights are not on her mind

Minerva
Guest
Minerva

I went to one of her concerts in London 14 years ago. The show started an hour later, it lasted 1h and 40min and one act performed for almost 30min. She didn’t sound well live at all. All this cost me £100. Oh well. For one in a lifetime experience, it was good. But I wouldn’t pay again.

Nikos
Guest
Nikos

Could not have expressed it better, well done !

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[…] to grab the attention of the veteran rocker Roger Waters. The Pink Floyd founder has written an open letter to Madonna, in which he urges the pop icon to not perform in Israel. The letter follows Waters’ previous […]

Sheryl
Guest
Sheryl

He is one of the most unbearable persons alive. His hyprocite, obssesive hate toward Israel just make me love and appricate Israel even more. Because obviously he is driven from unclear interests, which are defently not human rights. Arabs in Israel lives much better from any other arab country surrending Israel.

Just Me
Guest
Just Me

Roger Waters hates Israel. Because Israeli Arabs didn’t come to his performance. Only Israeli Jews. Even though he made his performance in Neve Shalom, which is considered a mixed City where Jews and Arabs live together. Roger, GROW UP!
#PeaceNotHate

Michaels
Guest
Michaels

Roger Waters, you are such a hypocrite. It wasn’t too long ago that you played a show here with us in Israel. A very lucrative show for you, as we recall. And so it seems odd to see you call on the Chemical Brothers and others to cancel their show here, thereby denying them the rights that you allowed yourself: the right to meet their fans here the right to share their music with them and of course, the right to make a living as a musician touring the world with a message and the right to educate oneself along… Read more »

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Now that’s a praise-worthy comment. Well done Michaels!

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

He wants Katerine’s masterpiece to stay away from Eurovision? Ridiculous…
Kate gave an appropiate answer!

Una
Guest
Una

Katerine should stay away from this debate. AND SLAY IN TEL AVIV!!!! GO KATERINE!

tim
Guest
tim

Roger Walters, Madonna, Justin Timberlake and others … they all want a piece of ESC, while the winners don’t become too big stars (yes, I know : ABBA, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias, but still).

EurovisionBenny_AUT
Guest
EurovisionBenny_AUT

Julio Iglesias came joint-fourth with Switzerland and France in 1970, he never won the contest… just wanted to say that 🙂

Joker
Guest
Joker

I think Madonna was quiet famous before any ESC show… stop biching about everything and enjoy the show.

Eurovisionfan12
Guest
Eurovisionfan12

Well he also sort of had violated basic human rights as well by limiting someone’s freedom to do what they want to :v

Guilbert
Guest
Guilbert

This happens when hypocrisy, not just politics, pollutes Eurovision. Walters only speaks of “human rights” when it is convenient. When he or Pink Floyd are not touring.

Loin dici
Guest

What is this guy thinking? Does he want self-publicity stunt or something?

Donz
Guest
Donz

exactly

Jonas J
Guest
Jonas J

Hats off to Roger Waters!

Cody
Guest
Cody

Waters is useless hyprocite ignorant.

Charles II
Guest
Charles II

I’d say hats off along with his head.

keith mawson
Guest
keith mawson

sod off Roger waters. take a look at any country in ESC , above or under the radar no one is innocent. Wish people would butt out this is a music festival not politics. Pisses me off. I don’t particularly care that much about madonna but she is entitled to do as she wishes.

keith mawson
Guest
keith mawson

I say this as a lifelong Pink Floyd Fan.

Charles II
Guest
Charles II

The Pink Floyd after Rogers is far better.
Dave Gilmoure is the real talent there.