Sean Evans; David BergmanEx-Pink Floyd singer/bassist Roger Waters has long been a vocal opponent of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, and he frequently addresses other music artists who have scheduled concerts in Israel and attempts to dissuade them from performing in the country. Salon has now posted a letter Waters has written to Bon Jovi criticizing the band for going ahead with its plans to play a show in Tel Aviv this Saturday.

Waters’ message, which was posted on Salon.com, begins by addressing “the pop group Bon Jovi” and the band’s three core members — Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan and Tico Torres — declaring, “Often in the past I have written detailed, and sometimes even persuasive, letters to colleagues in the music business, encouraging them not to give succor to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies by performing in Israel.”

Roger then points out that he read an interview Jon Bon Jovi recently gave with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, and says that because of Jon’s comments in the article, “I won’t waste my time drawing parallels with Apartheid South Africa and the moral stand that so many artists took then and that thousands are taking now in the face of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians.”

In the interview, Bon Jovi is asked if he’s aware of Waters’ campaign to persuade musicians to boycott Israel, and responds, “Yes, I heard about that but it doesn’t interest me. I told my managers to give one simple answer: That I’m coming to Israel and I’m excited to come.”

Waters’ letter then proceeds to suggest that Bon Jovi stands “shoulder to shoulder” with various Israelis who killed, injured or oppressed Palestinians or protesters. He lists such examples as “the settler who burned the baby,” “the bulldozer driver who crushed Rachel Corrie,” “the sailor who shelled the boys on the beach” and “the Minister of Justice who called for genocide,” while linking to various news stories giving details about each of his examples.

Roger also implies that by declining to perform in Israel, the band could have stood “on the side of justice,” and he offers a similarly formatted list of instances where people participated in acts of protest against the Israeli government’s policies. These include “the pilot who refused to bomb refugee camps,” “the teenager who chose eight prison terms over army service” and “the prisoner who fasted for 266 days until freedom.”

Waters’ message concludes, “The dead can’t remind you of the crimes you’ve ignored. But, lest we forget, ‘To stand by silent and indifferent is the greatest crime of all.'”

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