Or­ga­niz­ing to counter Roger Wa­ters on tour

Ex-Pink Floyd bassist met in US by 4-meter blow-up doll of Pinoc­chio. In Canada, it’s a film called ‘Wish you weren’t here’

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By AMY SPIRO

While le­gal ef­forts to stop mu­si­cian and anti-Is­rael ac­tivist Roger Wa­ters from per­form­ing this weekend have failed, protesters are em­ploy­ing other tac­tics to counter him around the US and Canada.

As Wa­ters ap­pears across North Amer­ica on his Us + Them tour, the for­mer Pink Floyd front man is be­ing met by counter-pro­gram­ming look­ing to re­spond to his ra­bid at­tacks on Is­rael. Wa­ters has called the Jewish state apartheid, com­pared its govern­ment to Nazi Ger­many and said it was a worse regime than the one in Syria.

Out­side Wa­ters’s con­certs in New Jer­sey and Brook­lyn in the past week, the or­ga­ni­za­tion StandWithUs parked a 4-meter blow-up doll of Pinoc­chio hold­ing a sign read­ing “Roger Wa­ters: We don’t need your lies about Is­rael.” The doll was ac­com­pa­nied by a truck em­bla­zoned with a dig­i­tal bill­board and graf­fiti artists paint­ing T-shirts for passersby, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Artists 4 Is­rael.

StandWithUs in­tends to bring its protest to Wa­ters’s up­com­ing shows on the US East Coast, in­clud­ing in Hart­ford, Con­necti­cut, and Bos­ton, Mas­sachusetts.

This weekend – on Fri­day and Satur­day nights – Wa­ters held two shows in Long Is­land at the Nas­sau Coli­seum, de­spite le­gal ef­forts to pre­vent the per­for­mances. In July, Nas­sau County At­tor­ney Car­nell Foskey threat­ened to take le­gal ac­tion against the Nas­sau Events Cen­ter in light of the county’s anti-BDS law. The law pre­cludes com­pa­nies that have par­tic­i­pated in BDS ac­tiv­i­ties from do­ing busi­ness with the county, which owns the arena.

But last week, ac­cord­ing to News­day, Foskey said the county would not be tak­ing le­gal ac­tion to pre­vent the con­certs from go­ing for­ward.

“Af­ter ex­ten­sive le­gal re­view, we had al­ready de­ter­mined that fac­tual is­sues and a lack of le­gal prece­dent have pre­cluded suc­cess if the county were to lit­i­gate,” he said in a state­ment.

StandWithUs did not ap­pear out­side the Long Is­land shows, as they took place on Shabbat.

A group of law­mak­ers, stu­dents and ac­tivists – headed by Hemp­stead Coun­cil­man Bruce Blake­man – did stage a protest out­side the Nas­sau Coli­seum on Fri­day af­ter­noon. The groups held signs sup­port­ing Is­rael and chanted slo­gans in­clud­ing “Say no to the show” and “Stop the lies, stop the hate.”

In an op-ed in The New York Times last week, Wa­ters de­cried an anti-BDS bill cur­rently be­ing con­sid­ered by Congress as “dra­co­nian” and “McCarthyite.”

“All Amer­i­cans – re­gard­less of their views on Is­rael-Pales­tine,” the English­man wrote, “should un­der­stand that po­ten­tially tar­get­ing and black­list­ing fel­low cit­i­zens who sup­port Pales­tinian rights could turn out to be the thin end of a thick au­thor­i­tar­ian wedge.”

When Wa­ters de­parts the US for Canada in Oc­to­ber, he’ll en­counter a very dif­fer­ent type of protest – screen­ings of a movie by film­maker Ian Halperin.

The film, called Wish You Weren’t Here, de­tails Wa­ters’s cru­sade against Is­rael against the back­drop of con­tem­po­rary an­ti­semitism. Halperin told The Jerusalem Post in July that he “in­ter­viewed mu­si­cians who have worked with him [Wa­ters] over the years and – this was alarm­ing – they claim that he’s been anti-Jewish for more than 25 years... This man ob­vi­ously has an agenda.” Halperin also spoke with fig­ures in­clud­ing Jewish Agency Chair­man Natan Sha­ran­sky, World Jewish Congress pres­i­dent Ron­ald Lauder and Har­vard law pro­fes­sor Alan Der­showitz.

Wa­ters will be play­ing shows in Toronto on Oc­to­ber 2 and 3, Que­bec City on Oc­to­ber 6 and 7, Ot­tawa on Oc­to­ber 10, Mon­treal on Oc­to­ber 16 and 17, Win­nipeg on the 22nd and Ed­mon­ton the 24th and 25th. B’nai Brith Canada will host screen­ings of the film in Toronto on Oc­to­ber 2, Que­bec on Oc­to­ber 7 and 8, Ot­tawa on the 10th, Mon­treal on the 16th, Win­nipeg on the 22nd and Ed­mon­ton on the 25th.

Halperin told the Post on Thurs­day that he had just screened the film at the Vatican, in part be­cause the pope ap­pears in the movie. Af­ter its pre­miere in Canada, there are screen­ings planned across the US, and “an Is­rael pre­miere will be an­nounced soon,” Halperin said.

(Perry Bin­del­glass)

PINOC­CHIO PARTICIPATES in StandWithUs’s protest against mu­si­cian and anti-Is­rael ac­tivist Roger Wa­ters out­side the Pru­den­tial Cen­ter Arena in Ne­wark, New Jer­sey, on Septem­ber 7.

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