Roger Waters — getting a taste of his own medicine

Apparently, the abused has had enough of the abuser.

By Ido Aharoni

British musician (76) has made the headlines once again, this time complaining that he had been “banned” from Pink Floyd’s official site and social media by his former band mate David Gilmour. In a 5-minute video released on May 19th, Waters shared his deep frustration with his former partners’ refusal to let him use the band’s official platforms, supporting his claims with some very specific facts.

In psychoanalysis this kind of behavior is commonly known as “projection,” which is a basic psychological defense mechanism that allows humans to deny the existence of certain feelings and tendencies in themselves while attributing them to others. In this case, Gilmour is the subject of the projection. This gifted, pleasant and well-mannered musician, who had never been associated with any controversy, is now being accused of using “banishment” as a legitimate tool in conflict resolution, and the very accusation is coming from the abuser himself. Projection 101.

Some background: , who left in the mid-1980s, has in recent years become a compulsive preacher of the anti-Israel boycott tactic. He feels very strongly that Israel should be excluded from the family of nations because of its alleged treatment of the Palestinians. He wants to “punish” Israel for its “sins” by using banishment and exclusion.

He has called Israel an “” accused its government of using “Nazi propaganda efforts,” and labeled Israel as “the worst human rights offender in the world” while conveniently ignoring the rest of the world. Almost every prominent musician who intends to perform in Israel is publicly “exposed” by Waters who routinely urges them to cancel their planned trips. Waters explains his fixation on Israel by his “deep care for human rights” although his voice had not been heard much regarding other lingering geopolitical, religious or ethnic crises.

Other than agitating the pro-Israel community, his to has mainly brought him infamy.

He became an outcast in the music industry, condemned by his peers and the press, ridiculed by commentators and industry insiders (“Wish You Weren’t Here” was the title of a 2017 documentary by Ian Halperin) and, more importantly, shunned by who either totally ignored him or publicly exposed his hypocrisy:

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke blasted him for wrongfully misusing the term “apartheid” in the context of the conflict and severely criticized the patronizing tone of the “open letter” that he had co-authored; Australian musician Nick Cave described his stance on Israel as “cowardly and shameful,” doubting whether Waters even understands “what the purpose of music is;” his efforts to pressure Canadian performer Celine Dion to cancel her Israel tour led to a falling-out with AAR, a respected Canadian anti-racism group, exposing his embarrassing inaccuracies; 41 finalists of the 2019 Eurovision song contest completely ignored his public plea to boycott the competition in Israel; so did Madonna, the American guest star.

In 2017, an investigative documentary by Canadian journalist Ian Halperin concluded that Waters is an . In a 2017 interview Halperin said about Waters: “music is supposed to spread love, not hate.”

Even for those who religiously oppose Israel, Waters has become an acutely painful .

Viewed within this particular context, the video he released on the 19th looks more like a desperate cry for help. The fact that it went unanswered by his former band mates only further emphasizes the depths of his mental predicament and distress.

Apparently, the abused has had enough of the abuser.

  • The writer is a professor of international relations at New York University, chairman of the Charney Forum for New Diplomacy, a member of APCO’s International Advisory Council and is a former consul-general of Israel in New York (2010–2016).


Lecturer, writer, public speaker, branding practitioner.

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Ido Aharoni

Ido Aharoni

Lecturer, writer, public speaker, branding practitioner.

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