NY Times bestselling author Ian Halperin has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s premiere investigative authors, carving out a unique niche for himself as an undercover journalist specializing in pop culture. He is the author or co-author of fourteen books — published in more than 70 countries and more than 33 languages.Halperin’s catalogue includes Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson,Love & Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain,Kardashian Dynasty and Whitney and Bobbi Kristina, among many other biographies. He is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker, having directed and produced many hit films, including the highly acclaimed documentaries Gone Too Soon, Chasing Gaga, and The Cobain Case. As a specialist in undercover investigations, Halperin regularly appears on television and radio to share his insider’s perspective on celebrity culture, including Howard Stern, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show and Page 6. Halperin is a regular contributor to Sirius XM, London Daily Mail and CNN.
Beatles Magazine: ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’ has a section with Paul McCartney making some comments. What does he talk about in his clip?
Ian Halperin: He speaks about his support for Israel and how he badly he wants peace in the mideast. Paul said he loved his time in Israel and that everyone should visit Israel before making judgments. Paul was enthralled by the beauty of Israel and its ambiance of heaven on earth.
BM: Paul’s wives Linda Eastman and Nancy Shevell are of Jewish heritage. How do you think that may have affected his viewpoint for the positive?
Ian: Certainly, Paul has a big connection to Jews and to Israel. Being married to two women of Jewish heritage certainly exposed Paul to some of the amazing virtues and culture Judaism has to offer. Also, Paul has been close to many moguls in the entertainment business who are Jewish. He’s been to many Shabbats and has shown a profound respect for Jews and their culture. Paul’s respect for Judaism was the supreme expression of respect to his wives.
BM: John Lennon was by far the most outspoken of the group politically. If John were around today, what might he have had to say about all of this?
Ian: John would certainly not approve of the way Roger Waters has spoken out against Israel. John always extolled how music should bring people together and not divide. He would have gone about this in a completely different way and most probably would have, like Paul, defied Waters call for a boycott and would have tried to bring people together through music.
BM: You wrote a #1 Bestseller on Michael Jackson in ‘Unmasked’ (2009). What did you learn about Michael and Paul McCartney’s experience together?
Ian: It was a love hate. At first they recorded together and became friends. Paul had no idea Michael would later buy most of his catalogue. He was not very happy how it went down. Still, Paul always maintained huge respect for Michael’s incredible artistry but never really let go of how he perceived Michael undermined him business wise.
BM: For those who have never heard about it, can you describe the BDS Movement?
Ian: Boycott Divest Sanctions is a movement aimed at getting everyone from companies to artists to boycott Israel. I found it appalling that this movement singled out Israel which is by far the most democratic country – respect gay rights, women’s right, etc.. – in the Mideast.
BM: We learn in ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’ that Roger Waters father died in WWII. What do you think formed his viewpoint on Israel, including the loss of his father to the war?
Ian: The film clearly dissects how Roger was so affected by his father’s loss when Roger was only five months old. Clearly, he never got over it. That’s why he has become so obsessed with Israel and the Jews. One top psychologist says in the film that Roger might be identifying more with the enemy than the victims, which she says is often common amongst children who lost a parent in war.
BM: Your own father Max was in a concentration camp. Can you describe that to us, as painful as it must be to discuss?
Ian: The only reason I did this film was because Waters said Israel is worse than Nazi Germany. It’s the most false statement I ever heard. Being the son of a Holocaust survivor I was appalled and decided to defend the legacy and honor of more than six million innocent people who were murdered by the Nazis. My father hid in a cave when he was six years old. His entire family, except for his father Joseph, died beside him of starvation.
BM: It is hard to fathom, but some of the younger generation might not know about the holocaust. Where would you guide them to learn and understand this event, and what a warning it is to guard against happening again?
Ian: Unfortunately it’s happening again. There are less than two million Jews left today in Europe, and a million of those are in Russia. That is appalling. Jew are being forced out in droves from Europe and the world is standing by silently watching another extermination of Jews in Europe. Jews for thousands of years have been part of European culture, society and business. They should not be forced to leave because of blatant attacks of antisemitism. Contemporary antisemitism, unfortunately, is alive and thriving more than ever in Europe. Look at France, more than 70 percent of their Jewish population has left during the past five years.
BM: What artists has Roger Waters tried to pressure into not performing in Israel?
Ian: Roger sends letters to all artists when they announce concerts in Israel, including Bon Jovi, Radiohead, Elton John and Britney Spears.
BM: Where can artists go for some help in dealing with pressure and bad press if they defy Roger Waters’ influence?
Ian: There is an organization run by legendary music mogul David Renzer (former head of Universal Music) called Creative Community For Peace. They help artists deal with Waters pressure and help make their journey to Israel more peaceful and more pleasant.
BM: What do you want the viewer to come away with, after watching ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’
Ian: This film is the definitive film on Waters’ views against Israel and also contemporary antisemitism. I interviewed everyone from Pope Francis to Tony Blair for this film and have icons like Paul McCartney, Alan Dershowitz and Elton John giving their opinion on Waters boycott. I want people to realize that music is supposed to spread love – not hate! Most of all I want people to realize how beautiful Israel is – a country full of cutting edge music, art and culture. I want people to be inspired to explore Israel’s scenic beauty and new opportunities and to be part of a process of peace there after so many decades of conflict.
BM: Can you give us a hint of a project you’re working on that Beatle fans may be on the look out for in the near future?
Ian: You can announce I’ve been working on a book\film about the Beatles for several years which has a different twist about why the Beatles actually broke up. I will release more details in the coming months.
by Bob Wilson