Roger Waters is too simplistic on Israel | Letters

Readers share their views on the musician’s call for other artists to stay away from Israel over its human rights record

Roger Waters’ mother imploring her son to “decide for yourself” and execute the “right thing to do” was no doubt in reference to the juvenile politics of the playground (If you believe in human rights, Madonna, don’t play Tel Aviv, 17 April). Unfortunately, these simple values can not be transposed to the labyrinthine issues of the Middle East in general and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular.

Sadly “bad stuff” occurs in all conflicts, which are not as clearcut as Waters would suggest: baddie Israelis (“apartheid”, “ethnic cleansing”, “slaughter”) versus goodie Palestinians (“fortitude”, “grace”, “heads high”).

Waters’ “brothers and sisters” are only the Arab victims of the conflict at the expense of all others. One cannot support the universal rights of one group by trampling on the universal rights of the other. Madonna should exercise her universal right to perform without undue pressure from Waters, who wishes to promulgate a simplistic view, an “us and them”, at her expense.
Coral Ash
Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

• Roger Waters criticises artists’ decisions to play in Israel, citing their failure to observe the 1948 UN declaration of rights and Israel’s failure to respect this declaration in relation to their treatment of the Palestinians. I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiments. However, I note that last year he played concerts in Russia. How did he make the decision to play there given Russia’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine?
David Lafferty
Wilmslow, Cheshire

• Has Roger Waters ever conferred on Guardian readers the benefit of his views on the government of Syria, where 500,000 citizens have been killed and 10 million displaced?
Jeremy Beecham
Labour, House of Lords

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