Pink Floyd tribute band backs down — and its shows are back on — after cancelling gigs in Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Pink Floyd cover band announced on Tuesday that its upcoming Israel tour is back on after cancelling due to pressure from BDS advocate Roger Waters, co-founder of the original Pink Floyd.

On Sunday UK Pink Floyd Experience cancelled its shows in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba early next month, hours after Waters posted a letter calling on the group to honor the Israel boycott. By Tuesday it had made an about face, posting a statement on its website that it was “obliged to fulfill our contractual obligation” and would “perform a one-off special concert together with Israeli Pink Floyd Tribute Band ‘Echoes.’”

The band said that it had decided to accept the invitation to play in Israel without wishing to involve itself in politics. In the statement, its members regret “the upset caused by all of this, it was far from our intention to stir up all this anger and hatred, when the opposite was what was intended. In hindsight, it was very naive to think our motives would not be misunderstood and misrepresented.”

Waters wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday evening: “To sing my songs in front of segregated audiences in Israel, and contribute to the cultural whitewashing of the racist and apartheid government of that country, would be an act of unconscionable malice and disrespect.”

Waters announced in a Facebook post on Sunday that the cover band had decided to cancel their Israel gigs and thanked the band members for their “prompt response.” He called on other Pink Floyd tribute bands to refrain from performing in Israel.

Supporters of Israel then flooded the band’s Facebook page with angry posts, leading UK Pink Floyd Experience to take down its Facebook page.

Last week, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in a rare news release, called on sponsors of concerts being given by Waters in Mexico and several South American countries to withdraw their sponsorship, citing the “hostile, bigoted, and anti-Semitic comments made by Mr. Waters on numerous occasions.” It also called on elected officials in those countries “to make clear their rejection of his offensive and inciteful [sic] comments.”