DISTURBED singer David Draiman, who is of Jewish heritage, has once again spoken out against a growing international movement that targets Israel.
A number of artists, including Roger Waters, have been vocal in their support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian land, grant Arab citizens equal rights and recognize the right of return to Palestinian refugees. It recently called on artists, music fans and broadcasters to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, arguing it amounted to "whitewashing" Israel's policies towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Asked by Israel's "Met Al Metal" radio show for his view on the Israel boycott by certain artists, Draiman said (hear audio below): "It's a cancer that is spreading, unfortunately, hand in hand with a very rapid spread of anti-Semitism on a global level. They're just anti-Semites in suits — they really are. They're just looking for any excuse to demonize.
"Don't get me wrong — I think that everybody can have an opinion, an educated opinion, criticizing any government on the face of the planet," he continued. "It doesn't matter what government you're talking about. No country is completely innocent of wrongdoing on every level. God knows the United States certainly isn't. God knows Germany isn't. God knows the U.K. isn't. God knows much of the E.U. isn't — all of these countries that, on occasion, tend to pretend that they are holier than thou.
"At the end of the day, whether you agree with all of the policies of the current Israeli government or not, you can't hold an entire nation and an entire people and an entire society liable. I think that Israelis, like most people on the planet, just want to live their lives in peace. If the opportunity really existed for it, we would jump at the chance — all of us would. But you need to have a partner for peace, and the administration on the Palestinian side hasn't been a partner for peace since there's been a Palestinian people. So it takes two to tango.
"And besides, even from a purely philosophical perspective, what do you achieve with boycotting a country or a people? Is that a way to actually foster real change? You're not gonna get anywhere. The only way to foster change, to bring people together is not by creating greater separation and demonization. It's by building bridges, it's by having dialogue, it's by exchanging a culture and ideas.
"The whole notion that, oh, this one country in the entire world, when you have countries like China and Russia and countries throughout the African continent and the South American continent that are committing the gravest atrocities in the modern day, that are completely anti-LGBTQ, have no real concept of real human rights, have brutalized their citizens, have massive corruption, are some of the most evil dictatorships in the world," Draiman added. "But the one true democracy in the Middle East, the one country that has the largest pride parade in the entire Middle East, the one country that is continually accused of apartheid yet has Arab-Israeli citizens sitting in the Knesset [Israeli parliament] is put on the chopping block by these modern-day Nazis."
Asked if he has been approached by the BDS about DISTURBED's upcoming concert in Israel, Draiman said: "They wouldn't dare approach me. They know better. I've been very, very vocal over the years of what my heritage is, where I come from, how much family I have in Israel and how supportive I am of Israel. I think that they know that they'd be barking up the wrong tree. Don't get me wrong — I've had a few social media interactions and some e-mails here and there from some lovely people who decide that they think that a bunch of negative jargon can go ahead and shake me in any way, shape or form, but it can't."
Draiman also directed much of his venom squarely at Waters, one of the most vocal advocates of a cultural boycott of Israel, whose view of the Middle East changed after a 2006 trip to Israel, where Waters played a gig at the end of the European leg of his "Dark Side Of The Moon Live" tour.
"The man is so delusional, the man is so wrapped up in his own psychosis and his own hatred disguised as this quote-unquote BDS campaign," the DISTURBED singer said. "The man is a very sick man.
"He performed [in Israel] and he made up stories about it — incorrect stories. I don't know if you've heard him try to go ahead and say how, during that one performance, he tried to address the Israeli crowd and ask for peace and supposedly was met with negativity and boos, and whatever, and then they go ahead and show the video from the actual performance so many years ago, and the Israeli fans were cheering for peace.
"The guy's delusion is severe," Draiman added. "This is a guy who just celebrated getting a gift of a guitar from Nicolás Maduro from Venezuela, for god's sake — one of the most brutal dictators in the world, who has been massacring his own people, starving his own people. This is the guy's hero. He defends the most evil dictators in the world — he defends Maduro, he defends [Russian president Vladimir] Putin. He defends anybody that can be viewed as socialist or communist. He'll even defend the Syrian regime and [Syrian dictator Bashar Al] Assad, for god's sake. I don't know what he did, drug-wise, during his life, but whatever he did fried a bunch of brain cells. The guy is not operating on all cylinders anymore."
DISTURBED will perform in Israel for the first time on July 2.
Although David has visited the country many times, this will be the first DISTURBED concert in the Jewish state.
Both of Draiman's maternal grandparents were survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, while many others on his mother's side were wiped out by the Nazis.
The DISTURBED song "Never Again", from 2010's "Asylum" album, was written about the Holocaust and calls out people who deny it.
The United States Holocaust Museum has featured Draiman in its "Voices On Anti-Semitism" podcasts.
Draiman has in the past battled with Twitter trolls who have harassed him about his sometimes-controversial views regarding Israel and its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Draiman has had frequent heated exchanges with followers on Twitter, some of whom believe that Israel is not blameless in the ongoing conflict with Palestinians.