After formerly defending rock star Roger Waters from charges of anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has concluded that the former Pink Floyd bassist is an anti-Semite.
The latest stance from the ADL follows the publication by CounterPunch magazine of an interview with Waters in which he compared Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, and referred to the “Jewish lobby” as the reason why so few celebrities have joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“Judging by his remarks, Roger Waters has absorbed classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and these have now seeped into the totality of his views,” ADL National Director, Abraham Foxman, told The Algemeiner. “His comments about Jews and Israel have gotten progressively worse over time. It started with anti-Israel invective, and has now morphed into conspiratorial anti-Semitism.”
“How sad that a creative genius could become so perverted by his own narrow-minded bigotry,” Foxman added.
In July, when it emerged that Waters was using an inflatable pig emblazoned with a Star of David as a concert prop, the ADL defended Waters.
“This is the same thing he’s been doing for years,” said Todd Gutnick, Director of Media Relations at the time. “We believe there’s no anti-Semitic intent here in the use of the Star of David symbol.”
Other Jewish groups were less forgiving. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called Waters an “open hater of Jews.”
In a public letter responding to Cooper, Waters cited the ADL in his own defense.
“First I direct you to an announcement by ‘The Anti Defamation League’ an American organization, who’s declared aim is to defend Jewish people and Judaism from attack. They recently said. ‘While we wish that Mr. Waters would have avoided using the Star of David, we believe there is no anti-Semitic intent here,’” Waters wrote.
Last week the Associated Press said that Waters was remorseful about being labelled an anti-Semite over the Star of David pig, and Foxman came to his defense.
“His shows deliver messages, breaking down wall, etc. He uses symbolism, and that’s one issue,” Foxman told The AP. “It’s artistic exuberance and crossing the lines of whatever, but he’s not an anti-Semite.”
In the CounterPunch interview, Waters said, “The Jewish lobby is extraordinary powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry and in rock’n roll as they say.”
Referring to Israel’s “right wing rabbinate,” Waters said “they believe that everybody that is not a Jew is only on earth to serve them and they believe that the Indigenous people of the region that they kicked off the land in 1948 and have continued to kick off the land ever since are sub-human. The parallels with what went on in the 30’s in Germany are so crushingly obvious that it doesn’t surprise me that the movement that both you and I are involved in is growing every day.”
Waters has long been an advocate of the BDS movement and has called on his fellow artists to boycott the Jewish state.