By Senator Marco Rubio
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters describes himself as “pro dialogue, pro peace, [and] anti authoritarian.” Maybe he should listen to his own music more, because he clearly can’t tell heaven from hell. Far from standing “in defense of Mistress Liberty,” Waters has become an advocate for antisemitism, Vladimir Putin’s imperialism, and the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide.
For years, the British rocker has expressed violent, unjustified hatred for the state of Israel, referring to it as an “apartheid state” and the construction of a “settler-colonialist cabal.” He accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocide and publicly supports the radical Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, known to harbor many antisemites. Meanwhile, he refuses to condemn Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas.
Waters may have escaped mainstream criticism, but the Anti-Defamation League makes clear Waters’ rhetoric and activism is antisemitic. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. When you tell interviewers that an “Israel lobby” is responsible for Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral loss in Britain, that there is a Zionist conspiracy to block criticism of Israel in America’s news and music industry, and that believing the Jews are God’s chosen people is the same as saying Arab lives “are worthless,” you can’t be surprised that people take you for an antisemite.
Sadly, left-wing celebrities tend to get a pass. However, Miami’s vibrant media landscape will have a chance to hold Waters accountable when he comes to FTX arena on August 23. Every reporter covering the concert should note, at a minimum, that Waters has a history of antisemitic comments.
If reporters want to dig deeper, Waters provides plenty of material for stories, much of it similarly unflattering. For example, in his new show he calls President Joe Biden a war criminal for “fueling the war in Ukraine.” Touting propaganda lines as if he were a Russian state media rag, Waters blames Putin’s invasion on the West, alleging it is NATO’s fault for “pushing right up to the Russian border.”
That’s not the only time Waters has sided with a murderous authoritarian. He called verified reports of Beijing’s enslavement of Uyghur Muslims and massacre of Tibetan Buddhists “absolute nonsense.” Waters freely excuses Beijing’s aggression toward Taiwan, too, because––as he claims every educated person should know––“Taiwan is part of China.”
Waters’ fans should be aware of his antisemitic and pro-authoritarian rhetoric. This is not to say Waters should be canceled. In this country, unlike in Waters’ beloved Russia or China, there’s such a thing as free speech. But free speech is not without consequences, and Waters’ history of gross and indefensible comments might just hit him where he feels it the most––the money that fuels the “new car, caviar, four-star, daydream.”
Senator Marco Rubio is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issue, and is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.