Roger Waters is the world’s best-known antisemite. He hates Israel with a passion, despises every aspect of the Jewish state, a wicked country that he claims – despite all the evidence to the contrary — practices apartheid, is a “colonial-settler” enterprise erected on “stolen Palestinian land,” and kills Palestinians in a “genocide.” He’s been a fervent supporter of BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) for more than a decade, and not only does he refuse to perform in Israel himself, but has urged other entertainers not to perform in the Jewish state.
Waters also favors Russian President Putin’s war of aggression in the Ukraine, so at least, in his embrace of the wicked, he is being consistent.
His new solo tour — billed as “Not A Drill” — will start in May, and cities in Germany where he is due to perform have started to make noises about cancelling his appearance. Frankfurt is the first city to cancel his appearance, and now there is talk about doing the same in Munich, while similar noises have been coming from city officials in Hamburg, Berlin, and Cologne. Roger Waters now plans to “take legal action” against city council in Frankfurt, which has canceled his May 28 concert because he is “one of the world’s best-known antisemites.”
More on Roger Waters, and his decision to pursue legal action agains the city council of Frankfurt that cancelled his concert, can be found here: “Roger Waters Announces Legal Action as ‘Antisemitic’ Concert Tour of Germany Faces Growing Opposition,” by Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, March 15, 2023:
The former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters has announced that he is pursuing legal action against the “unconstitutional” decision of a German city council to cancel his May 28 concert after it cited his alleged status “one of the world’s best-known antisemites” as the reason.
Let’s remind ourselves of the kind of things Waters routinely says about Jews and the Jewish state. He claimed in an August 2022 interview that a nefarious “Israel lobby” — meaning British Jews — prevented the election of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK. Waters claimed in the same interview that Israel thinks Jews are superior to everybody else on the planet, saying: “…religious supremacy, the idea that the Jewish people are somehow superior to everybody else on the planet but particularly the Arabs, the Palestinian Arabs…the Israeli state who believe that the Jewish people are superior, more important than any of those people, those people’s lives are worthless.”
In a July 2022 video interview with the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, Waters demonized Zionists as “settler-colonialist,” insinuated that Jews had no connection to the land of Israel, and referred to Zionists with the antisemitic canard “cabal,” saying “It’s about a bunch of Europeans back in the middle of the 19th century deciding that they were going to take over this piece of land, and kick out anybody that lived there and take it over for themselves and their own little cabal.”
In a May 2021 video, Waters accused Israel of committing genocide, and labeled Israel as an apartheid state.
In May 2019, Waters appeared to compare Israelis to aliens in a rant about Israel hosting the 2019 Eurovision contest.
In an April 2019 op-ed regarding Madonna’s performance in the Israel-hosted Eurovision contest, Waters wrote: “To perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalise the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters … all that bad stuff.”
In a series of statements made by Waters in support of BDS, he said:
“I’m not sure that there any much harsher regimes around the world than this [Israel], actually, if you look at it.”
In reference to a question about how Israel uses Hasbara (translation: “explaining” as in public diplomacy) to reject being labeled an apartheid state, Waters said: “The thing about propaganda – again, it’s not hard to go back to Goebbels or the 1930s. You understand the tactic is to tell the big lie as often as possible over and over and over and over again. And people believe it.”
Waters calls Israeli Hasbara “propaganda,” and likens it to what Goebbels put out.
This is a very small sample of his obsession with, and hatred for, the Jewish state, and for those — mainly Jews — who support its “genocide.”
But let’s return to Waters’ tantrum about German cities cancelling his appearances, and his threat of legal action to defend, as he sees it, his “free speech rights”:
A statement released by Waters’ management company on Wednesday[March 15] pledged that the singer would “fight back” to defend his “freedom of speech,” asserting that the bid to cancel the singers’ appearances in Germany as part of his “This is Not A Drill 2023” tour was “unconstitutional.”
The statement noted both the cancelation of Waters’ appearance in Frankfurt and the moves currently underway in Munich to prevent his May 21 date in the Bavarian capital from going ahead.
As a result of this unilateral, politically motivated action, Mr Waters has instructed his lawyers to immediately take all necessary steps to overturn this unjustifiable decision to ensure that his fundamental human right of freedom of speech is protected and that all of those who wish to see him perform, are free to do so in Frankfurt, Munich and in any other city in any other country,” the statement declared.
The statement bemoaned what it called “unconstitutional actions” based upon “the false accusation that Roger Waters is antisemitic, which he is not.”
In its explanation of its decision to cancel Waters’ concert at the city’s Festhalle venue, the Frankfurt council highlighted those aspects of Waters’ activities that have rung alarm bells elsewhere in Germany, such as his backing for the campaign to subject the State of Israel to a regime of “boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS)” as a prelude to its elimination as a sovereign state, and for his role in pressuring other artists not to perform in Israel. It also highlighted the use of antisemitic imagery in Waters’ past concerts, including a balloon shaped like a pig and embossed with a Star of David and various corporate logos.
Waters says he is “not antisemitic.” Is someone who obsesses about the Jewish state every time he opens his mouth not “antisemitic”? When he accuses Jews of harboring a supremacist belief that they are “better than everyone else”? When he describes the Jewish state as practicing “apartheid”? When he describes Israel as being a colonial-settler state? When he accuses the Jews of Israel, who are supported by Jews outside of Israel, of practicing “genocide”? There is no evidence for any of these claims; they can only be explained by reference to Roger Waters’ peculiar pathological condition, the one we can easily identify as “antisemitism.”
Meanwhile, pressure is growing in the other German cities where Waters is scheduled to appear for those performances to be nixed, among them Berlin, Cologne — where a cross-party group of politicians has already called for the cancelation of Waters’ May 9 concert at the city’s Lanxess Arena — and Hamburg.
“If we are serious about fighting antisemitism, then the concert in Hamburg must also be canceled,” the city’s antisemitism commissioner, Stefan Hensel, told the Judische Allgemeine news outlet.
Do Waters’ repeated assaults on the Jewish state and on Jews receive constitutional protection in Germany, as Waters seems to think? No, he’s dead wrong. Given Germany’s history, the country is particularly alert to antisemitic speech. Section 130 of the German Criminal Code criminalizes certain kinds of hate speech. The law bans incitement to hatred and insults that assault the dignity of people based on their racial, national, religious,or ethnic background. In post-World War II Germany, it has been used to prosecute those who make antisemitic slurs. Is accusing Jews, and the Jewish state, of practicing “genocide” enough of a slur? What about having at your concert a huge inflatable pig, to which is attached a Star-of-David? Is that antisemitic?
I hope Waters follows through on his threat, and commences legal action against the German cities that have cancelled, or will cancel, his concert. It should provide him with a salutary lesson in German jurisprudence, and the limits, in Germany, of free speech.
Meanwhile, the definitive last word on the lamentable Roger Waters comes from Polly Samson, a former lyricist for Pink Floyd, and the wife of the band’s singer-guitarist David Gilmour. When she and her husband heard Waters again make his preposterous charge that Israel is guilty of “genocide,” they were both so infuriated that she took to twitter to sum up, in lapidary fashion, Roger Waters: “Sadly Roger Waters, you are antisemitic to your rotten core. Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense.”
That’s a description of Waters that cannot be bettered. Perhaps it could even be set to music.