Politics, Law and Concerts

Oh look! It’s one of those situations where everybody’s wrong!

Wrong the first: Roger Waters is all over Thom Yorke because he wants to play a concert in Tel Aviv. Waters is a big supporter of BDS – a kind of comprehensive boycott of Israel that mirrors the actions taken in the 70s and 80s to force regime change in South Africa. Which, you know, is his right. But why is Radiohead’s concert schedule any of his business? He petitioned Yorke to change his plans, Yorke didn’t, that should be the end of it. Thom Yorke is not responsible for Israel’s policy choices. Certainly no more so than Roger Water is responsible for China’s occupation of Tibet, and yet he plays concerts in China. Or the abject, oppressive stupidity of Venezuela’s government, and yet he was happy to perform in Caracas in 2006 when the oil bolivars still spent. It’s fine for artists to have strongly-held opinions about foreign policy, but they need to recognize that they don’t have a right to anyone else’s agreement. Here’s Waters:

I can absolutely see why some South Africans would be insulted by being told that these people—Thom Yorke, for instance—know more about apartheid than [BDS supporter] Desmond Tutu. It’s clearly ludicrous.

No, what’s "ludicrous" is that Roger Waters thinks he know anything more about Palestinians than Thom Yorke does. What’s "ludicrous" is that he’s just decided, apparently at random, to focus on the Palestinian issue to the exclusion of anything going on in Russia or China or the United Arab Emirates or Venezuela or any other dodgy country he’s been happy to perform in in the past.

But of course, Waters is a victim here too, because the Holocaust Industry is real, and right here in the United States Jewish ethnic chauvinists abuse the law to try to promote their own agenda. Because of his support for BDS, there is a real effort to use police power to cancel a Roger Waters show in New York. I’m not even kidding.

The lawmaker, Howard Kopel, asked the county attorney last week to determine whether the Nassau Coliseum lease requires compliance with the county law, adopted in May 2016, that prevents the county from doing business with any company that participates in the economic boycott of Israel. Kopel, an Orthodox Jewish legislator who represents a district with a large Jewish population, said in a Facebook post that the Waters concert violates the anti-BDS law while calling the musician a “notorious front man for the BDS movement and virulent anti-Semite.”

Yeah, well, being a "notorious front man for the BDS movement" is perfectly legal and protected by the First Amendment, no matter how many Jewish voters Kopel wants to pander to, as, for that matter, is making anti-Semitic statements – not that Waters has actually made any. Fortunately for Kopel, being an ethnic chauvinist is legal too, but his anti-BDS law should not be. People have the right to join boycotts. This law is unconstitutional – here’s hoping they cancel Waters’ concert, he sues the pants off of them, and the courts have an opportunity to make that abundantly clear to everyone.

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