Roger Waters calls on Chemical Brothers to cancel show in Israel

Former Pink Floyd man joins campaign alongside Caryl Churchill and Maxine Peake seeking a cultural boycott to promote better treatment of Palestinians

Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters has joined a campaign calling on the Chemical Brothers to withdraw from a forthcoming show in Tel Aviv. Waters has signed an open letter at, which tells the dance duo: “Your recording company, Virgin EMI, may tell you that playing Tel Aviv on November 12 is a cool thing to do. But Tel Aviv’s hipster vibe is a bubble on the surface of a very deep security state that drove out half the indigenous Palestinian population in 1948 and has no intention of letting their descendants back in.”

In addition to the letter from Artists for Palestine – also signed by actor Maxine Peake and playwright Caryl Churchill, among others – more than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Chemical Brothers to cancel the gig.

Hipster vibe … nightlife in Tel Aviv.
‘Hipster vibe is a bubble on the surface’ … nightlife in Tel Aviv. Photograph: Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi/AP

“When international artists, such as the Chemical Brothers, perform at Israeli cultural venues and institutions, they help to create the false impression that Israel is a ‘normal’ country just like any other,” the petition states. “Artists both on stage and in the media make pious comments about ‘peace’ and ‘coexistence’, whilst hinting that the occupied and occupier should ‘live side by side’. This doesn’t change the fact that artists that are performing in Israel are actually taking part in whitewashing the occupation and apartheid.”

Though tickets are on sale for the show, it is not listed in the upcoming dates section of the Chemical Brothers’ website.

Those campaigning for the duo – Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons – to withdraw say the Chemical Brothers told Israeli media, when asked about the demand: “Pressure was not applied to us. We will go to any place where young people want to see us playing. We are not really involved in all the rest.” The outlet that printed the interview is Hebrew only.

The Guardian has contacted the Chemical Brothers’ Ed Simons, asking for his response.

Last month, Waters joined forces with his old Pink Floyd bandmates David Gilmour and Nick Mason to offer support for the Women’s Boat to Gaza, which was intercepted by the Israeli navy on a voyage from Barcelona to Gaza.


Guardian music

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Roger Waters is too simplistic on Israel | Letters
Letters: Readers share their views on the musician’s call for other artists to stay away from Israel over its human rights record


18, Apr, 2019 @4:50 PM

Article image
Chemical Brothers review – a glorious, meaningless sensory overload
Against huge projections of robots, disco balls and angels, the band deliver a rousing set that even makes the players themselves punch the air

Dave Simpson

22, Nov, 2019 @1:00 PM

The Chemical Brothers | Pop review
Roundhouse, London
The new material felt like a warm-up for the real show – an enjoyable clatter through the band's biggest hits, writes Alex Macpherson

Alex Macpherson

21, May, 2010 @9:00 PM

Article image
Brian Eno and Roger Waters scorn Nick Cave's 'principled stand' to play in Israel
Australian labelled ‘naive’ and ‘arrogant’ after he accused pro-boycott campaigners of trying to bully and censor musicians

Steph Harmon

22, Nov, 2017 @12:45 AM

Article image
British cultural figures urge BBC to boycott Eurovision in Israel
Vivienne Westwood, Mike Leigh and Julie Christie are among those calling for coverage to be cancelled, citing human rights violations

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

29, Jan, 2019 @4:59 PM

CD: The Chemical Brothers, Brotherhood

Star Guitar is quite overwhelming, designed to flush the heart and mind

John Burgess

28, Aug, 2008 @11:07 PM

Article image
Chemical Brothers to headline Bestival 2015
The dance duo return to the Isle of Wight festival, joining other acts including the Jacksons, Underworld and Duran Duran

Guardian music

12, Feb, 2015 @9:59 AM

Article image
The Chemical Brothers – Don't Think: exclusive soundtrack stream

Listen to this stream of the soundtrack to the Chemical Brothers' film Don't Think and tell us what you think

Caspar Llewellyn Smith

26, Mar, 2012 @12:34 PM

Article image
Chemical Brothers review – kicking like an electronic mule
Voodoo priests made of lights, scary clowns and giant robots soundtracked by war zone indie-rave … the Chemicals live up to their reputation

Mark Beaumont

25, Sep, 2015 @1:41 PM

Article image
Chemical Brothers announce new album, premiere new track
Sometimes I Feel So Deserted is the first song to be heard from Born in the Echoes, which will be released this summer

Guardian music

24, Apr, 2015 @8:07 AM