The UK Pink Floyd Experience will perform in Israel at the start of the New Year as initially scheduled after a short-lived cancellation induced by co-founder of Pink Floyd, bassist Roger Waters, a champion of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that advocates isolating the Jewish state over its treatment of Palestinians and is inspired by international advocacy against apartheid-era South Africa.
The band that already performed in the Jewish state back in 2017 said that it received a “wonderful reception” then and was excited to return, adding that profits from the upcoming shows would be donated to UNICEF.
Ziv Rubinstein, an Israeli musician and one of the producers from EGoeast responsible for arranging the Israel concerts, hailed the “brave” decision to go ahead with the shows.
“Our decision to accept the invitations to play in Israel were completely non-political and neither endorses nor criticises anyone’s political views in this situation,” the band explained in the statement released on its website Tuesday. “We deeply regret the upset caused by all of this, it was far from our intention to stir up all this anger and hatred, when the opposite was what was intended. In hindsight, it was very naive to think our motives would not be misunderstood and misrepresented.”
After originally setting the dates for the shows on January 4,5, and 6 in Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Haifa, respectively, Roger Waters deplored and implored the cover band not to perform in an urgent plea posted on Facebook containing a picture of the band performing juxtaposed with a graphic picture of a young bloodied boy tugging at a Red Crescent worker attending to him.
The notorious Pink Floyd musician who has been at loggerheads for years with his former bandmate David Gilmour, wrote that it would “be an act of unconscionable malice and disrespect” to perform his songs in Israel and “contribute to the cultural whitewashing of the racist and apartheid government of that country.”
“The people you intend to entertain are executing their neighbor’s children, shooting them down in cold blood every day,” continued Waters. “In the name of everything human, PLEASE hear my plea and cancel today.”
Ten days ago the band announced on its Facebook page that it was canceling the Israel shows, unleashing an extraordinary response from thousands of Israelis and attacks that included listing band members’ phone numbers, prompting the UK Pink Floyd Experience to shut down its social media page
Waters hailed the decision, claiming that the cover band’s David Power called the situation in Israel “intolerable” and pledged to join the BDS campaign.
But Power commented on Waters’ version of their conversation, emphasizing to the provocative bassist that “my concern was for my colleagues and the abuse and threats they were receiving as a result of your initial post… We do not support either side in this, we were simply hoping to bring music to the people.”
The band has also decided to invite Israel’s Pink Floyd cover band Echoes to perform at all three shows, “so that there will be Israelis on stage – so that the audience won’t think for a second they wanted to cancel over that,” Rubenstein said.
“It was a terrible situation, their lives were threatened, they were very scared, they deleted their Facebook page” he explained. “But we know the people who are in the band, and we know they are people who love Israel, who have appeared here in the past – we talked to them and spoke to their heart.”
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