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CULTURE | 15-11-2023 14:47

Roger Waters says he has no hotel in Argentina and Uruguay due to ‘Israeli lobby boycott’

British musician and former Pink Floyd frontman, a well-known pro-Palestinian activist, said Wednesday that he had nowhere to stay in Buenos Aires and Montevideo for his upcoming tour dates as a result of a "boycott" against him organised by the "Israeli lobby."

British musician Roger Waters, former Pink Floyd frontman and well-known pro-Palestinian activist, said on Wednesday that he had nowhere to stay in Buenos Aires and Montevideo for his upcoming tour dates as a result of a "boycott" against him organised by the "Israeli lobby."

Waters, who performed in Brazil this week on his farewell tour, is scheduled to perform on Friday (November 17) in Montevideo, and on Tuesday (November 21) and Wednesday (November 22) in Buenos Aires. 

But he will still have to stay in São Paulo for the shows, he told local daily Página/12.

"The city of Montevideo has been closed to me, I have nowhere to stay. I have to fly there directly on the day of the show," said Waters who said he was "furious" at this situation, which he said will prevent him from having dinner on Thursday with his friend, former Uruguayan president José ‘Pepe’ Mujica, as he had planned.

Consulted by AFP, several of the main hotels in the Uruguayan capital refrained from commenting on the issue.

"These idiots of the Israeli lobby managed to co-opt all the hotels in Buenos Aires and Montevideo and organised this extraordinary boycott based on malicious lies they have been telling about me," claimed Waters.

The president of the Central Israelite Committee of Uruguay, Roby Schindler, and of the Jewish NGO B'Nai B'Rith in Uruguay, Franklin Rosenfeld, said this week that the artist was a "propagator" of anti-Jewish hatred, in letters addressed to the Sofitel Montevideo that were published on the X (formerly Twitter) social network.

Schindler branded Waters a "misogynist, xenophobe and anti-Semite," while Rosenfeld threatened to call for a global boycott on the Sofitel chain if it decided to host the "anti-Semitic artist.”

"I have never had a single anti-Semitic thought in my entire life. What I condemn is what the Israeli government does, and I will continue to condemn it because it is wrong," Waters told Página/12.

The artist displays an inflatable Star of David pig at his concerts, and in May he wore Nazi-style attire during a show in Berlin. 

Waters said the outfit – which includes a long black trench coat with bright red armbands and a mock machine-gun – is a statement that is "quite clearly" against fascism, injustice and bigotry. It relates to Pink Floyd's iconic 1979 album The Wall, which is a critique of fascism.

His fans also defended him, saying that the performance is a recreation of scenes from the film of the same name starring Bob Geldoff.

"Attempts to portray those elements as something else are disingenuous and politically motivated," Waters said on social media back in May.

Days ago, in an interview with United States journalist Glenn Greenwald, he accused Israel of exaggerating the scale of the attack by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in southern Israel on October 7.

The attack, which left at least 1,200 mostly civilians dead and 240 kidnapped according to Israeli officials, triggered a bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas since 2007. 

More than 11,300 Palestinians have been killed in that offensive, according to figures collated by the Hamas-led Health Ministry.

On Tuesday, centre-right Uruguayan lawmaker Felipe Schipani called on the left-wing Montevideo government to withdraw the declaration of Distinguished Visitor to Waters, given during his first visit to Uruguay in November 2018. 

In addition, Montevideo City councillors, opponents of the capital's government, have called for a municipal resolution issued on October 30 declaring Waters' new show of cultural interest to be rescinded.

Waters, 80, is also scheduled to perform in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador on his This Is Not a Drill tour.

 

– TIMES/AFP
 

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