Tag Archives: Berlin

Are Roger Waters’ Germany concerts really anti-Semitic?

Many may say it’s not my business to judge, because I haven’t attended any of these shows.

But then, it seems many are also being influenced by strongly pro-Israeli writers on the social media, and I dare say their opinions will be treated as valid. Either way, if my conclusions are inaccurate I’m ready to stand corrected by anybody with a well-reasoned argument.

The complaint is that former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has displayed anti-Semitism in his current tour, with the latest shows in Germany attracting particularly strong criticism.

A show in Frankfurt was cancelled at one point, due to concerns that had been raised – but Waters took the matter to court and the event was reinstated. This suggests there is no legal basis for the claim made against these performances.

If there were, then it seems enormously unlikely that they would be allowed to take place in Germany, a country that may be (perhaps should be) forever in penitance for the genuine anti-Semitism, persecution and genocide of Jewish people during the 12 years of Nazi government there.

Part of the show that has attracted particular attention is a moment when the names of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and world-famous diarist Anne Frank were projected on screens around the stage (see above).

The claim is that this is anti-Semitic because it links Israel with Nazism (Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by Israeli military forces and Anne Frank died in a Nazi concentration camp).

But is the government of Israel really every Jew? If so, are we to take it that the Nazis of 1933-45 are representative of every German in 2023? That is the logical supposition behind the claim. I tend to believe that it fails because Germans would not attend a performance by anybody who makes such a claim about them.

To me, it seems far more likely that the musician was linking Jewish people with Palestinians by pointing out that both races have suffered oppression – the former historically and the latter currently.

In both cases, their only crime (according to the on-screen verbiage) was belonging to a race that a foreign political regime had chosen to oppress, and in both cases the result was the same: death.

I’m aware that many say any comparison between the activities of anybody who is Jewish and those of the Nazis is an act of anti-Semitism but this makes it too easy to whitewash unacceptable acts of violence like the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.

If the activities of the Israeli Defence Force are comparable in any way with those of the Nazis, then any such similarities need to be dragged under the spotlight and examined because if they were found to be accurate, then it would be the Israeli military who had betrayed their fellow Jews by acting in that way – not anybody who pointed out what they were doing.

Nobody could suggest that those people were acting on behalf of all Jews by (in this example) killing a Palestinian journalist and be taken seriously.

A further criticism of the show is that Roger Waters appears to don a Nazi uniform and mime firing a machine gun into the audience. This is supposed to demonstrate sympathy for the Nazis.

But, again, this claim is not supportable. In a show that attacks Nazi atrocities like the oppression and eventual death of Anne Frank, it is not reasonable to suggest that the performer is himself a Nazi sympathiser.

Instead, I question the motives of those making the accusations. They have no factual grounds on which to base their claims. It seems to me that they are simply trying to stir up an emotional response instead – mass hysteria if you like – against Roger Waters.

I wonder why they would want to do such a thing. What do you think?

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