Monday, October 31, 2016
What would be the reaction if a performing artist went around supporting a movement whose objective is the destruction of a nation and the denial of a people’s right of self-determination? If, when challenged, he resorted to some of the worst stereotypes and hateful language, what would be the reaction? It seems that when it comes to Roger Waters, Israel, and Jews, he goes on a concert tour and no one objects.
Not unlike Mel Gibson, who said some of the worst Jew-hating comments but who now is heralded as the director of the new movie Hacksaw Ridge. If Waters or Gibson made comments such as they have about any other nationality or ethnic group, they would be shunned. But, somehow, when it comes to Israel and Jews, their hate is acceptable.
My wife and I split our time between Jerusalem and Sacramento, California. We've been back in Sacramento for about six weeks. The community is excited and proud because after years of planning and several false starts, a world-class, state-of-the-art arena has just opened. It is the new home of the Sacramento Kings, it is set to host a vitual parade of singers and other stars, and it is widely expected that it will be the catalyst for the long-awaited revival of the downtown. In short, it is a hopeful, happy time for the community.
Although only an intermittent resident of Sacramento these days, I was enjoying the excitement and pride of my hometown friends; it's contagious. As I was skimming through a list of upcoming events, I was startled and, to put it mildly, disappointed, to see that Waters was scheduled for a show in June at the new Golden 1 Center. This is particularly offensive because the center received substantial funding from public funds.
If Mr. Waters made the kinds of comments about Mexico and Mexican Americans that he has made about Israel and Jews, the public justifiably would not stand for him appearing at the Golden One Center. And, yet, when it comes to Israel and Jews, he is booked and nary a word is said.
Just about two weeks ago I wrote to the primary owner of the team, who was the driving force behind the arena, and to several key personnel, as well as to outgoing Mayor Kevin Johnson and Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg. No response. Below is my letter.
I am heartened to note that American Express recently decided that it does not wish to be associated with Waters' campaign of hate.
Dear Mr. Ranadive:
The opening of the new Golden 1 Center is understandably a moment of great pride to Sacramento and the area. It represents a renaissance for the city and the entire region. Having grown up and spent a good part of my life in the city, and as a lifelong resident of the county, I share in the excitement and pride that the new arena has brought to the city and the region. The Center could not have been built and opened without the active support of the citizens of the Sacramento, and without a sizeable contribution of public funds.
As a Jew, a resident of Sacramento County, and as a citizen of both the United States and Israel, I was shocked, saddened, and disappointed when I recently learned that the arena will be hosting Roger Waters in June. Mr. Waters is an unabashed Jew-hater who supports a movement whose objective is to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination in our ancestral homeland.