Just a quick response to Aaron Goldstein’s piece on Roger Waters, the doddering rocker formerly of Pink Floyd. Waters’s criticism of Israel strikes me as bizarre and wrongheaded, but not, pace Aaron, necessarily “anti-Semitic.” Anti-Semite is not an epithet to be tossed at one’s political opponents. I do not see enough evidence to suggest that Waters, however crudely he chooses to express his disagreements with Israeli foreign and domestic policy, actually hates Jewish people. Besides, it is a bit rich to find someone who refers monolithically to “the Palestinians” (cf. “the blacks”), as if every single Palestinian shared the disgusting opinions of certain propagandists and P.A. higher-ups, making accusations of racism.
Keith Kahn-Harris wrote an excellent column about Waters a few days ago in the Guardian. He calls Waters’s arguments “cliched and disproportionate,” “lazy,” and “predictable,” all of which strikes me as quite right. But he also makes the excellent point that Waters’s call for a boycott of Israeli products and his comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany are ludicrous in themselves, regardless of Waters’s true feelings about Jewish people, knowledge of which we simply do not have. Better to condemn Waters for what he has definitely said and done than for what he may or may not believe privately.
As Edmund Burke wrote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
This is one of those spurious “quotes” traded around on the internet. Burke wrote no such thing.