On July 17 Neil Young
& Crazy Horse are set to play Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Israel as part of the group's
current tour. Back in January, when rumors that Neil would perform in Israel started to
gain steam, Roger Waters sent a letter to Young via his manager, Elliott Roberts,
urging him not to play the Middle Eastern country.
Young never responded to the ex-Pink Floyd bassist's note, so nearly six months later
Waters has shared the contents of his letter on Facebook:
Dear Neil Young,
There are rumors flying about that you are considering doing shows in Tel Aviv this year.
The picket lines have been crossed in this last year by one or two lightweights from our
community but no one of your stature. Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave. Neil Young!
You are one of my biggest heroes, you are one of a very short list, you, John Lennon,
Woody Guthrie, Huddy Ledbetter, Harry Belafonte, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday and, like some
others, but not many, your songs have always been redolent of love and humanity and
compassion for your fellow man and woman. I find it hard to believe that you would turn
your back on the indigenous people of Palestine. That you would lend support to, and
encourage and legitimize, with your presence, a colonial apartheid regime, largely settled
from Europe, that seeks to confine the native people of the land, either in exile or in
second class status in reservations and ghettos.
Please, brother, tell me it ain't so.
As I recall, back in the day, along with the rest of us (Stevie van Zandt, Bruce, Led Zep
etc etc etc etc) you would not "Play In Sun City" I am asking you to stand on the same
moral ground now. The late, great, Nelson Mandela lives on in us, we cannot let him down.
He was explicit in his position and I quote, " We know too well that our freedom is
incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians". It is time for "Rock Against Racism"
to show some of it's muscle by refusing to lend our names to the whitewashing of the
illegal colonization of Palestinian land and the systematic oppression of its indigenous
people. Unfortunately the opposition lobby has a lot of muscle too. They spend millions on
their "Hasbara"(If like me you have no Hebrew)”Explaining” or to you and me "Propaganda".
The propaganda machine is well oiled and ruthless. We, on the other hand, have only our
commitment to non-violent resistance to lie down in front of the IDF caterpillar tractors
that would raze the native people from the land of Palestine. We stand with those people,
and with all the brave people of Israel and Palestine, Jewish and Arab alike who oppose
The Israeli Governments brutal policies. We stand with Rachel Corrie, the young American
woman who gave her life under the caterpillar's tracks. Please join me and countless other
artists all over the world in solidarity with the oppressed and the disenfranchised. It is
time to heed the peoples call. People like The Bedouin, the nomadic people of the Negev in
the arid south of Israel, please research their plight, one village, Al-Araqib has been
destroyed 63 times by IDF Bulldozers. If you are in doubt about any of this, I will go
with you to Palestine, and Israel, if they’ll let me in, you will see what I have seen,
and then let us figure out the right thing to do.
By the way I watched your Bridge School concert on YouTube last year, it was very moving,
you were, of course magnificent. You had asked me to perform, and as I explained to your
management, I would have gladly done so had I not already been committed to The Wall Tour
in Europe and Stand Up For Heroes in New York. This year I will be pleased and proud to
come and support you if you call.
With respect, and love.
Fyi. Nice Christmas present.
Despite recent escalations of tension between the Israelis and Palestinians, it
appears Neil and his band will go on with next week's show. We await to see if Young
publicly responds to Roger Waters' letter.
On a less controversial note, Neil Young & Crazy Horse have debuted a new song on their
current tour. Watch the version of "Who's Gonna Stand Up And Save The Earth?" they laid
down last night in Ireland: