While many fans have embraced the song's lyrical content, which is sympathetic towards the people of Lebanon, some have objected to Waters' political stance. In 2006, Waters performed a concert in Neve Shalom, Israel in front of a crowd of 50,000. During the concert, which included "Leaving Beirut" in the set-list, Waters expressed his belief that Israel had to "tear down the walls" of the Israeli West Bank barrier (pictured in the single's cover art) to make peace with its neighbours. The morning after Waters' concert in Neve Shalom, editorial writer Ben Dror Yemini wrote in the Israel newspaper Maariv:
[I]nstead of demonstrating against genocide in Sudan, or arrests in Syria, or the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, Waters demonstrated against Israel[...] So who made you boss, Mr. Waters? Who are you to preach to us against the separation fence? What do you know about the hundreds of Israelis whose blood was spilled? What do you know about an entire nation that has to protect itself? What do you know about the hundreds of suicide bombers who came here not to kill the occupation, but to kill Jews?
The song has also received some criticism for its musical content and style; one review of the 10 October show at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California claimed that the song "floundered" musically despite being lyrically "one of Waters' best post-Floyd works.
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