Roger Waters paying hefty price for his continued anti-Semitic (and pro-Russia) rants
Roger Waters, the legendary member of Pink Floyd, has had his concert in Frankfurt cancelled by the city’s government due to his “continuing anti-Israeli stance.” Frankfurt officials view Waters as one of the world’s most influential anti-Semites due to his repeated calls for a cultural boycott of Israel, his comparisons to South Africa’s apartheid regime, and his pressure on artists to cancel events in Israel.
Waters – already often referred to as being the Leni Riefenstahl of rock ‘n’ roll – has also been known for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and featuring a pig-shaped balloon with the Star of David during a previous tour as you can see above. Fans who love his music but are critical of his political views are directed by Waters to the bar during his performance under the guise of “fuck off.”
Despite this controversy, Live Nation, Mojo and other organizers will keep his concerts maintained. Some say that they do not endorse Waters’ political views, but they will continue with the concerts (for the sake of money of course).
The cancellation in Frankfurt was due not only to Waters’ political views but also because of the sensitivity surrounding the Festhalle, where the concert was to be held. During the Kristallnacht in 1938, 3,000 Jewish men were taken to the Festhalle, where they were mistreated and later deported to concentration camps. The venue has a plaque urging people to take a stand against anti-Semitism and hate speech.
It’s highly possible that Berlin, Munich, and Cologne will also cancel the Roger Waters concerts.
More than one incident
There have been several instances where Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd band member, has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments.
In a 2010 interview with CounterPunch, Waters compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to apartheid South Africa and said, “The parallels with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.”
In a 2012 interview with Electronic Intifada, Waters stated, “I think that the Israeli government has been playing the Holocaust card, and it is disgusting. They have been blackmailing the world with it for years.”
In a 2013 interview with CounterPunch, Waters criticized what he called the “Jewish lobby” in the US and accused it of controlling the media and the government’s foreign policy. He later apologized for using the term “Jewish lobby” but maintained his criticism of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.
In a 2017 interview with BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) activist Frank Barat, Waters compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, saying, “The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing, and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable.”
In 2018, Waters published an open letter urging fellow musicians to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest, which was being held in Israel. In the letter, Waters accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “dispossession” of the Palestinian people, and called for a cultural boycott of the country.
It’s worth noting that Waters has denied being anti-Semitic and has stated that his criticisms are aimed at the Israeli government’s policies, not the Jewish people as a whole. However, his comments have been seen by many as crossing the line into anti-Semitic territory.
A true Putin lover?
Waters has been known for his criticism of Western governments, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, and has been vocal in his support of political causes such as the BDS movement and the anti-war movement, and has more recently been used by Putin’s Russia to spread the bogus claim that the Russian invasion in Ukraine was provoked by the NATO countries.
He ended up speaking at the United Nations Security Council – at Russia’s request – in early February. While he denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine as illegal, he also claimed it was “provoked,” drawing sharp criticism from the Ukrainian UN ambassador, who accused him of aiding Russian propaganda. In addition, Waters criticized his former Pink Floyd bandmates for releasing a charity single, arguing that it would only encourage the continuation of the war.
As a result of his controversial statements, two concerts that Waters was due to perform in Krakow, Poland in April were canceled. This followed an open letter in which Waters strongly criticized Ukraine and the West for their actions in the conflict with Russia.
Since you’re here … … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading Side-Line Magazine than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Side-Line’s independent journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we want to push the artists we like and who are equally fighting to survive. If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as 5 US$, you can support Side-Line Magazine – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. The donations are safely powered by Paypal.