There is much to unpack about Roger Waters’ recent antisemitic theatrics in Berlin.
When it comes to which celebrity wins the award for being the most antisemitic in our generation, Roger Waters is high on that list, along with Kanye West and the Hadid family.
Last week, the former Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist performed in Berlin, where he dressed up as an SS officer and compared the murder of Anne Frank to the tragic death of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot while reporting in the middle of a gunfire exchange between Palestinian terrorists and IDF counter-terror operatives.
Abu Akleh’s death was terrible and upsetting for those of us who care about the protection of journalists. Her death, however, was not the same thing as Anne Frank’s; Frank was one of six million Jews whom the Nazis marked for genocide. To draw such a comparison is Holocaust revisionism and doing so completely whitewashes the crimes committed by the Nazis. Moreover, Israel launched an investigation after Abu Akleh’s death, showing that, as a country, there is accountability when these tragic incidents occur.
But these actions are not surprising coming from Waters, whose history of antisemitism could fill the pages of a book, with even his former bandmates calling him out and rejecting his comments. Waters has publicly expressed support for Russia during its ongoing war with Ukraine and even told the United Nations that Russia’s invasion was not unprovoked.
A couple of days after his Berlin concert, Rogers published a statement saying, “The elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms. Attempts to portray those elements as something else are disingenuous and politically motivated.”
If this were true, how does one explain the floating humanoid pig and shady businessmen pulling the strings, which were displayed on the screen during his show? How could these elements in his performance be anything besides antisemitic theatrics that perpetuate age-old tropes against Jews controlling the world and being sub-human?
Waters was nothing but strategic with the antisemitic notions he was trying to push, as he chose to feature Abu Akleh’s name right before Frank’s, knowing full well what this would imply. Waters’s Holocaust revisionism, especially on German soil, was an attempt to stick it to the Jewish community, knowing that the Holocaust is a source of deep pain in our community.
After coming out in an SS uniform and shooting a fake gun at the crowd, Waters displayed the words “F*** the occupation” while singing “Lay Down Jerusalem (If I Had Been God).”
Roger Waters: "Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an antisemite."
A COUPLE of days ago, Waters performed in Frankfurt, where several Jewish organizations showed up to protest after his vile theatrics in Berlin. Initially, the city of Frankfurt canceled the show due to Waters’s history of antisemitism. However, an administrative court in the city ruled that neither Frankfurt nor the state of Hesse could cancel the show. During his Berlin concert, Rogers triumphantly told the crowd, “On a matter of public interest: a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an antisemite.”
In what world is it normal for a musician to get away with absolving himself of antisemitism and then push antisemitic elements throughout his entire show? How is dressing up in an SS uniform and engaging in Holocaust revisionism not a clear indication of this sick man intentionally trying to harm Jews? I shudder to think how Waters will use his concerts in the future to push more revenge theatrics against the Jewish community.
Displaying symbols of Nazi rule, including the swastika or SS insignia, is, for the most part, illegal in Germany. The German police have launched an investigation against Waters for incitement and glorifying, or justifying, the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime.
It would certainly appear that Waters used this concert in Germany to harm and target Jewish people emotionally. We all knew this and expected it to happen, given his history.
After the Frankfurt municipality called him one of the world’s most widely-known antisemites, it is truly upsetting that Waters was allowed to perform. What is worse is that his concert venue in Frankfurt was in the same spot that used to be a Jewish detention camp during World War II, where 3,000 Jewish men were held on Kristallnacht (“Night of the Broken Glass”) before being sent to concentration camps.
It has been 78 years since the Holocaust ended. It seems we have not learned the lesson of where giving a platform to an antisemite can lead.
The writer is a social media activist with more than 10 years of experience working for Israeli, Jewish causes and cause-based NGOs. She is the co-founder and the COO of Social Lite Creative, a digital marketing firm specializing in geopolitics.