As B’nai Brith Canada continued to tour its anti-Roger Waters documentary Wish You Weren’t Here, CEO Michael Mostyn responded to the Pink Floyd co-founder’s outburst at one of his recent Toronto concerts, in which he singled Mostyn out.
Before the intermission at his second Toronto concert at the Air Canada Centre on Oct. 3, Waters, a spokesperson for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, claimed that Mostyn said his shows feature “long, lengthy tirades against the country of Israel.”
“Well, we have 30,000 witnesses here tonight … along with 600,000 other witnesses who’ve been to my shows since we started, who also never heard a single word about Israel in any of my shows. So I just needed to mouth off for Michael Mostyn and that’s it,” said Waters.
Speaking to The CJN from Ottawa hours before a screening of the documentary, Mostyn said he was proud that Waters called him out while on stage.
“We’re very proud that he singled out B’nai Brith,” Mostyn said with a laugh, “because first of all, it means he took note of our campaign.
“He’s taking note of these film screenings that are taking place across the country, coinciding with his shows across the country, and it shows that it’s having an impact and that this campaign is very effective.”
He said the BDS movement itself is anti-Semitic, a point the documentary, which was produced by Canadian author and filmmaker Ian Halperin, tries to drive home.
But, Mostyn added, when Waters denies speaking out against Israel at his shows, “he’s trying to split hairs.”
“It’s also an undisputed fact that anti-Israel propaganda does exist and did exist in his previous concerts and in fact some of our supporters witnessed and walked out of his previous tour … where there was anti-Israel sentiments (espoused) by Mr. Waters (at a concert) in California,” Mostyn said.
“There were also some reports out of Miami on his current tour that he had made anti-Israel statements. We’re currently investigating those reports.”
Mostyn said that even during his most recent show in Toronto, Waters used anti-Israel imagery.
“Specifically the wall, from the famous Pink Floyd song The Wall, the wall is still being held up and the Israeli protective barrier is being depicted during that song The Wall,” Mostyn said, referring mistakenly to a sequence in the song Us and Them, during which images showing multiple symbols that separate people from one another – including the Israeli protective barrier – are shown on the screen.
“It’s more than a little bit disingenuous to say that he’s not saying anything about Israel when he’s using anti-Israel imagery at the show. Just because you’re not verbalizing something, doesn’t mean you’re not making a statement.”
As Waters’ Us + Them tour continues across Canada, film screenings will be held to coincide with his concerts in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Mostyn said it was interesting that Waters singled out B’nai Brith, considering that “every notable Jewish group in this country has spoken out against Roger Waters and his support for BDS.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs circulated an online petition to send a message to Waters that “anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred are not welcome in Canada.”
“So many people have been talking about this and it has been having such an impact … and we’ll continue making a strong impact on behalf of the community.”