2010: An Israeli naval vessel patrols beside one of six ships bound for Gaza. The raid launched against those ships left nine civilians dead [Image: Reuters].

2010: An Israeli naval vessel patrols beside one of six ships bound for Gaza. The raid launched against those ships left nine civilians dead [Image: Reuters].

Judging from some of the comments This Blog has received lately, it seems many people will feel that the members of Pink Floyd have gone over to the Dark Side (of the moon?) with their joint statement.

No. They are absolutely right to oppose Israel’s military action against a peaceful humanitarian aid mission to Gaza.

Israel started the blockade in 2007, on the grounds that it was necessary to prevent Hamas from importing weapons.

But it is widely believed that the blockade is unlawful, for humanitarian reasons. The first Freedom Flotilla, in 2010, carried humanitarian aid and construction materials but was stopped by the Israeli navy in a raid in which nine passengers were killed and dozens injured (although for fairness, I should add that nine soldiers were also injured).

Whatever Israel was planning to do with the women who were arrested by its navy in international waters, it seems likely they will be released quickly after public interest was stimulated by the band’s statement.

It seems people are unwilling to remain Comfortably Numb (sorry) when their musical idols stand up for a cause.

Perhaps pro-Israeli voices will claim that the intervention of these musicians is unwelcome in a serious political issue, pointing out that Roger Waters has already caused controversy with previous comments about the behaviour of that country’s government.

Slated as an anti-Semite by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who offered no argument to support his claim, Mr Waters responded at the time: “If Rabbi Boteach can make a case for the Israel government’s policies, I look forward to hearing it.

“It is difficult to make arguments to defend the Israeli government’s policies, so would-be defenders often use a diversionary tactic, they routinely drag the critic into a public arena and accuse them of being an antisemite.”

Considering the result of the raid in 2010 and the humanitarian argument for aid to be supplied to Gaza, it seems clear that the survivors of Pink Floyd have a strong case this time.

So Shine On, You not-so Crazy Diamonds.

It’s 11 years since Pink Floyd reunited to play the Live 8 concert in London, but now the three remaining members have put their differences behind them in common cause. That cause, however, is not music.

Instead, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters have joined together – in word only – to offer their support for the Women’s Boat to Gaza, a group of women from around the world who set sail from Barcelona to Gaza last month, sponsored by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, a group opposed to Israel’s “siege of Gaza”. The Women’s Boat was intercepted by the Israeli navy earlier this week, and the crew arrested. They are expected to be deported soon.

Pink Floyd’s Facebook page carried a post on Wednesday expressing the support of David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters for the women. The same post appeared on Waters’s Facebook page, though not on Gilmour’s.

“‘Pink Floyd reunites to stand with the Women of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla’

“David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters stand united in support of the Women of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and deplore their illegal arrest and detention in international waters by the Israeli Defense Force.”

The Freedom Flotilla said it expected the women to be released quickly, not least because of the attention Pink Floyd’s support had drawn to their cause.

Roger Waters has campaigned on behalf of the Palestinian cause since visiting Israel in 2005. He has called for a cultural boycott of Israel and for institutions to divest themselves of their interests in the country.

Source: Pink Floyd unite to support the Women’s Boat to Gaza | Music | The Guardian

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