DISTURBED frontman David Draiman has slammed PINK FLOYD co-founder Roger Waters for the third time in the past two months support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, which aims to pressure Israel to end the occupation of Palestine, among other things.
Draiman made his comments while speaking to i24News ahead of his band’s performance in Tel Aviv two weeks ago. He said (see video below): “Israel gets particular judgment and preferential boycotting that literally no other society is subject to. The Chinese treatment of their homegrown Muslim population and the internment camps that they’re in — millions being subjugated and thrown into re-education programs.
“How they brutalized their LGBTQ communities. Places like Venezuela and Syria and the Sudan and all over the African continent, which are committing grave crimes against humanity. Even our partners with the United States in Saudi Arabia and many other states, the atrocities they continue to commit, none of them get the level of judgment and scrutiny that the Israeli government does.
“I will be perfectly frank and honest with you — there are many things that I disagree with the current Israeli administration, as many Israelis do, but that’s democracy,” he continued. “I disagree with a lot of the actions of the current administration in the United States too; that doesn’t mean I’m not going to play there.
“[Israel is subjected to a] really unfair amount of unjustified treatment and persection. There is no sense to it. There isn’t logic behind it. There isn’t another people on the planet that are treated the same way.”
A number of artists, including Roger Waters, have been vocal in their support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian land, grant Arab citizens equal rights and recognize the right of return to Palestinian refugees. It recently called on artists, music fans and broadcasters to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, arguing it amounted to “whitewashing” Israel’s policies towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“I don’t understand the point,” Draiman said about the Israel boycott by certain artists. “What are they really hoping to achieve by holding back their art from the general population? What good is that going to do? Even if you subscribe to the notion that it will achieve something to boycott goods and the services from these specific quote-unquote occupied territories — and that’s a whole another topic of vast discussion and debate — what is the justification in holding back your creativity and your art? Music and art was created, and is created, to bring people together — not to separate them. It’s meant to build bridges, not to burn them down.”
Draiman again took a shot at Waters:
“His unbridled hatred is so severe and has affected his psyche so much, he’s rewriting his own history. The man played Israel, and the way that he’ll tell you the story of that performance is very, very different to what actually happened, to the footage that exists on tape that you can actually look back at and refer to and know that he’s full of sh*t. It doesn’t cease to amaze me, the lengths that him and those like him will go to distort truth on behalf of their ridiculous hateful narrative. You can’t have a rational debate with people like that. It’s like trying to play chess with a pigeon who just ends up sh*tting all over the chess board and insisting that he won.”
Asked what message he had for the BDS supporters who hold an unfavorable view of the Jewish state, Draiman said:
“If you divorce yourself from the narrative for just a moment and try to look at people as people, and stop trying to blame all the ills of the world on any sect of people, and learn a greater appreciation for the human beings behind the idealogy, you may end up surprising yourself.
“It’s been my absolute pleasure, over the course of my career, on a number of occasions, to be able to dispel the mythology behind what Jews are supposed to represent to those people,” he added. “And I’ve been able to, early on in my career, turn hardcore N*zi skinheads away from their way of life —on more an occasion. Because, ‘Wait a minute. You can’t possibly be Jewish.’ ‘Yeah, I am.’ ‘How? You are this guy on stage. And I love your music and your message and your songs. And you’re a good person, and you don’t have horns growing out of your head. I don’t understand. Everything they told me wasn’t true.'”
In May, Draiman was asked by the Bring Disturbed To Israel Facebook page for his view on the Israel boycott by certain artists, including Roger Waters,to which he replied:
“To elaborate a little bit on it, besides just my aggressive stance against it… The reasoning that no matter what side of the fence you sit on politically… And look, I don’t think anybody in any country always agrees with everything their country does — I don’t, okay?
“But I’m a very, very strong supporter of Israel forever and for our people. And regardless of whether it’s Israel or anywhere else, boycotting an entire society and an entire people based on the actions of its government is absolutely ridiculous. And it doesn’t accomplish anything. I don’t see boycotts happening of Russia; I don’t see boycotts happening of many of some of the countries that have some of the most oppressive, closed-off regimes in existence on the face of the planet, where LGBTQ people are persecuted, where all kinds of minorities are persecuted.
“I don’t see people boycotting China for what they’re doing to their Muslim population. It’s just Israel that gets this treatment, and I think we all know the reason behind that.”
He added: “There’s a special hatred that exists for the Jewish people in this world, and it unfortunately can’t be explained. It’s something that has lasted and has been deep seated for centuries, and that’s part of our burden as a people, unfortunately.
“You can’t accomplish anything in terms of trying to create peace, in terms of trying to create understanding by shutting things off. There has to be open roads of communication. You build bridges; you don’t knock them down. And music and entertainment is the perfect way to bridge that gap.
“And the very notion that Waters and the rest of his N*zi comrades decide that this is the way to go ahead and foster change is absolute lunacy and idiocy — absolute. It makes nosense whatsoever. It’s only based on hatred of a culture and of a people and of a society that have been demonized unjustifiably since the beginning of time.
“You wanna be able to bring people together? You wanna effect social change on a real level? Bring them together for a concert,” Draiman added. “It’s the perfect way. Music builds bridges, and the fact that anybody would try to dissuade artists from trying to do what their music was created to do in the first place is mind-boggling to me.
“And the fact that any artist would actually fall prey to this rhetoric and this way of thinking is mind-blowing to me. That they’re cutting off their noses to spite their faces just is completely the antithesis of what creating art is meant to do.”
DISTURBED played their very first show in Israel yesterday (July 2).