Roger Waters is a famous musician and co-founder of the rock band Pink Floyd. He is also a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and a critic of Israel. However, he has been accused of repeated antisemitism by some former collaborators and Jewish groups, who claim he has made offensive remarks and used antisemitic imagery in his concerts.
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Allegations made by CAA
A UK-based charity that fights antisemitism, the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), has made a new documentary that accuses Waters of using antisemitic language and symbols. They claim Waters called his agent a “fucking Jew” in a song and suggested an antisemitic message on an inflatable pig at his shows. The documentary also reveals emails from Waters with this proposal.
The documentary includes testimonies from Bob Ezrin and Norbert Stachel, who are both Jewish and have worked with Waters. Ezrin, a music producer for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, said Waters sang a rhyme about their former agent, Bryan Morrison, that ended with “cos Morry is a fucking Jew”. Stachel, a former saxophonist for Waters, said Waters made fun of his grandmother who died in the Holocaust and asked the waiters to “take away the Jew food” at a restaurant.
Roger Waters’ Response
Waters has rejected the accusations of antisemitism and said he only criticizes the Israeli government’s actions and policies. He has also justified his use of the Star of David and other symbols on his inflatable pig as a way of denouncing “the evils and horrors of fascism”. He said he has collaborated with many Jewish people and apologized if he has offended anyone.
Controversy and Debate Surrounding the Allegations
The allegations against Waters have caused a lot of debate and controversy among his fans and critics. Some have blamed him for harming the cause he supports, while others have praised him as a defender of human rights and free speech. The US State Department commented on the issue in June 2023, saying Waters has “a long track record of using antisemitic tropes to demean Jewish people” and that his concert in Berlin in May 2023 “contained imagery that is deeply insulting to Jewish people and trivialized the Holocaust”.