Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd musician, reportedly began a recent concert in Berlin by announcing that he is not antisemitic, shorty before making comparisons between the Nazis to Israel.
At one point during the concert, various names are displayed on large screens. A journalist at the concert reported that Anne Frank’s name was prominently displayed, alongside the statement that her “punishment” for the “crime” of “being Jewish” was “death”.
In an identical format, the name Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist who was shot last year, was displayed next to text that states her “punishment” for the “crime” of “being Palestinian” was “death”.
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.”
His announcement that he is not an antisemite arrived in the wake of a court ruling which stated that the city of Frankfurt, which made headlines after it labelled Mr Waters “one of the most widely known antisemites in the world,” was not able to cancel his concert.
This is not the first time that Mr Waters has felt the need to proclaim that he is not antisemitic.
Throughout the podcast, Mr Waters, who has a long record of baiting Jews, claimed he has repeatedly been accused of being an antisemite due to his anti-Israel position.
Joe Rogan, the podcast’s host, seemingly agreed with Mr Waters, saying: “By calling you an antisemite, they just stop the conversation dead in its tracks cause that’s an indefensible position.”
“Exactly. And you’re not allowed to say ‘I’m not’,” Mr Waters replied.
Going on to address a past concert in which he unveiled a balloon pig with a Star of David emblazoned on its side, he said: “‘Oh, you once put the Star of David on the side of a pig in a show.’ Yeah but I also put the hammer and sickle, and the crescent, and whatever, and a dollar sign.
“‘Yeah, but you put the…,’ well, it’s a symbol of an oppressive state. I am lumping you in but it’s not just you.”
In an apparent conflation between the Jewish people and the State of Israel, Mr Waters then stated: “But that is just me criticising the policies of your government and I’m afraid the Star of David does represent the nation that is committing the crime of apartheid every day, and murdering Palestinians every day. Men women and children, every single day.
“So yeah, I did [put the Star of David on the side of a pig], and I’m unapologetic about it.”
Mr Waters complained that “It’s not just me…they smear anyone, anyone, who dares to suggest there’s something bad about their policies. So that’s why the [Definition] is so bad, and so dangerous.”
Taking issue with one of the examples in the Definition, the musician went on to say that the Definition “can’t mean” that the State of Israel should not be criticised for behaving “like people in the past…towards Jews in Northern Europe.”
According to the Definition, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.”
In 2020, the musician said that Zionism needs to be “removed” and that American leaders are puppets of a Jewish billionaire and that Israel teaches America how to “murder the blacks”. He later apologised for the latter remark.
In 2021, he claimed that antisemitism is “smear sword wielded at behest of the Israeli Government”, stating: “The antisemitism smear sword that was wielded at the behest of the Israeli government, specifically aimed at Jeremy Corbyn because he was left wing and he might turn into a political leader on the left in the United Kingdom who would actually stand up for human rights in general but specifically the rights of working people to represent themselves and have unions.”
Concerningly, Mr Waters is due to perform on several upcoming dates in the United Kingdom.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It says something about Roger Waters that he incessantly needs to insist that he is not an antisemite. He has a penchant for breaching the International Definition of Antisemitism, has claimed that antisemitism is ‘smear sword wielded at behest of the Israeli Government’, and has a long history of baiting Jews. That his show apparently includes a visual equation of Israel to Nazis, which extends his record of making such comparisons, is all the more reason for these venues to steer clear of him. Artistic freedom does not justify hate.”