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Former Pink Floyd Members Ask the Rolling Stones To Cancel Israel Show

Pink Floyd Rolling Stones
MJ Kim / Neville Hopwood, Getty Images

Roger Waters and Nick Mason are asking the Rolling Stones to cancel their June 4 concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. The former Pink Floyd members have penned an open letter to their fellow rock legends — and any other bands considering performing in Israel — to reconsider their decision based on their issues with the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians.

“Playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid,” they wrote in Salon. “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.”

Waters has long been critical of the Israeli government’s policies. In Nov. 2012, he spoke before the United Nations on the issue and, last summer, got in trouble with Jewish organizations for putting a Star of David, which appears on the Israeli flag, on an inflatable pig during his production of ‘The Wall.’

Now, Waters has brought in his former drummer to help make his case to the Stones. “[W]e, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd, have united in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), a growing, nonviolent global human rights movement initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 to end Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of basic Palestinian rights.”

The duo conclude by recalling that the Stones once took a similar stance. “If you wouldn’t play Sun City, back in the day, as you, the Rolling Stones did not, then don’t play Tel Aviv until such time as freedom reigns for all and equal rights is the law of the land.”

In 1968, Keith Richards told Gram Parsons about the apartheid regime in South Africa, where Parsons, then a member of the Byrds, was scheduled to perform. Parsons quit the Byrds immediately and subsequently formed the Flying Burrito Brothers.

Next: Top 10 Pink Floyd Songs

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