Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd singer-bassist, is attempting to defend himself from charges that he is an antisemite. Last week, his The Wall Live Tour performance in Belgium featured a Star of David-marked prop pig that was destroyed by the audience at the end of the show.
Waters called for a boycott of Israel in March and convinced Stevie Wonder not to play there, saying, “I wrote a letter to him saying that this would be like playing a police ball in Johannesburg the day after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that at Waters “is an open hater of Jews.” He called on other artists to “denounce his anti-Semitism and bigotry.”
Waters responded on Facebook that Cooper’s views were “wild and bigoted” with an “entirely predictable resulting rant.” He then protested he’s not an antisemite, writing, “I also use the Crucifix, the Crescent and Star, the Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil Logo and The McDonald’s Sign, a Dollar Sign and a Mercedes sign [in the show].” He then claimed that some of his best friends are Jewish and cited his daughter-in-law: “[She] is Jewish and so, in consequence, I’m told, are [my grandsons].”
Yet Waters remained adamant in his hatred of Israel:
In a functioning theocracy it is almost inevitable that the symbol of the religion becomes confused with the symbol of the state, in this case the State of Israel, a state that operates Apartheid both within its own borders and also in the territories it has occupied and colonized since 1967. The Star of David represents Israel and its policies and is legitimately subject to any and all forms of non-violent protest. To peacefully protest against Israel’s racist domestic and foreign policies is NOT ANTI-SEMITIC.
He also admitted that the pig represents “evil, and more specifically the evil of errant government.”
The Wall Live tour performs next in Istanbul, Turkey.