When Roger Waters floated a huge pig balloon stamped with the Jewish Star of David at his recent concert in Belgium, the aging rock figure confirmed his place on the “A” List of Anti-Semites.
Before there was the Internet, before TV, magazines, and newspapers, Jew-haters in Europe created woodcuts of Jews suckling on a wild pig, seen here, an image later regularly deployed by the Nazi’s Der Stuermer newspaper and by the Soviet Union to stir up violent anti-Jewish animus.
In 2013, Waters chose to adorn a flying pig with various icons of fascism, dictatorships, and multinational corporations. The Star of David was the only symbol of a people and its heritage. The image can be seen here.
The 69-year-old founder of the band Pink Floyd has never hidden his loathing for the Jewish State. While we aren’t sure he ever condemned Palestinian suicide terror attacks that killed and maimed hundreds of Israel civilians, he vehemently opposed the Israeli West Bank barrier that put an end to such cross-border horrors, labeling the fence an “obscenity” that “should be torn down.” In 2009, he pledged support to the Gaza Freedom March, and has since played a prominent role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
While the BDS campaign has failed to improve the life of a single Palestinian, it has managed to complicate the delicate efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to reboot Israeli/Palestinian peace talks and to bully some entertainers into canceling appearances in the Jewish State.
In their latest alleged “victory,” some BDSers used threats to keep *Eric Burdon from grinding out his signature House of The Rising Sun. The lead Animals singer initially cancelled his appearance—after a campaign of intimidation that included death threats, but some reports insist he will show up in Tel Aviv for his August gig.
Waters lends his voice in support of these ‘pro-peace’ bullies, whose public face speaks of “nonviolent pressure to end the Occupation” -but whose real goal isn’t peace and reconciliation, but instead the isolation and demonization of Israel as an ‘apartheid state’.
With the rest of the Middle East imploding before our eyes, BDSers count on celebrities to spout outlandish anti-Israel stances as a way to ensure media coverage.
That helps account for the recent antics of self-anointed celebrity Middle East activists. A protest letter signed by three-dozen British celebrities, including actress Emma Thompson, followed unsuccessful demonstrations at London’s Old Globe Theater to cancel a Hebrew language performance of The Merchant of Venice by Israel’s renowned Habima Theater. Habima’s sin? “…a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory.” These cultural icons’ outrage was absent, however, during a performance of Richard III in Mandarin, despite brutal Chinese repression in Tibet.
Some celebrities who have caved to BDS pressure – such as Meg Ryan, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, and Snoop Dogg – gave the excuse of “scheduling conflicts.”
But not Waters. He hasn’t masked his animus for the Jewish state and now he has floated his anti-Semitism and desecration of the national symbol of the Jewish people for the entire world to see.
Will any of his ‘activist’ peers or music buddies take him on? So far we only hear sounds of silence.
For every Animal scared away, there are plenty of A-list entertainers showcasing their talents in Israel to their Jewish and Arab fans – including Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, and Justin Timberlake. When Color Purple author Alice Walker—a fanatical BDSer who won’t even allow her novel to be translated into Hebrew—urged R&B star Alicia Keys not perform in Israel to avoid the “soul danger” of visiting “an apartheid country” practicing a discrimination worse than “American apartheid,” the 14-time Grammy winner Keys responded: “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.” By performing in Tel Aviv on July 4, Keys declared her independence from intimidation and blackmail.
Mr. Waters has now claimed on a social networking site that he is not an anti-Semite, and has family and friends who are Jewish. But by boycotting Israel, he is using his cultural status to single out only Israel and punish all of her citizens, whatever their political views or religious status. If he doesn’t want to see his talents, energies, and name serve those who seek Israel’s demise through their anti-Semitic campaign, he should immediately walk out of the BDS movement. And permanently lose that Star of David on his pig.
Let’s hope that other cultural icons will have the guts to denounce Roger Waters’ hate, and, like Alicia Keys, use their G-d-given talents to inspire young people to embrace peace and reconciliation.
*Since the publication of this op-ed, Eric Burdon decided to go ahead with his show in Israel stating, “I’m not afraid to preform here and very happy to be back in Israel.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center