For Roger Waters, Antisemitism Is Part of the Show
For Roger Waters, attacks on world leaders and other forms of political provocation are part of the show. Unfortunately, so is antisemitism.
At a concert in the Netherlands in 2013, for example, Waters wore a Nazi-style outfit: a black leather coat with a red badge on his arm, black gloves, and a German Schmeisser MP40 machine gun, used by German soldiers during World War II. During the concert, a large inflatable pig adorned with words and symbols — among them a Star of David — also flew over the heads of fans. In Germany, some of his concerts were canceled given the Nazi and antisemitic imagery that he has surrounded himself with. Declaring that a “powerful Jewish lobby” controls the press — or that the Israeli government is “Nazi” and “Apartheid” — has not helped Waters much, either. Neither has David Duke’s endorsement.
But in South America, Waters has had better luck. The legislature of the city of Buenos Aires recently declared him a “Guest of Honor,” and the City Hall of Montevideo recognized him as an “Illustrious Visitor.” Bnai Brith Latin America in Montevideo and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Buenos Aires quickly made complaints, noting the irony of granting these official recognitions at the same time as the commemoration of Kristallnacht’s 80th anniversary.
After all, as an advocate of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, the British musician continues the policies of boycott and marginalization of Jews that the Nazis implemented in the 1930s. Today, Waters seeks to apply these measures exclusively against the Jews who live in Israel.
Roger Waters is not just an adherent of BDS, but one of its most prominent members. Not only has he taken a personal stance against performing in the Jewish state, but he has also pressured other musicians not to play there either. Boycotting Israel is his own personal mission. Thus, he keeps company with anti-Zionist Jews such as Ilan Pappe, Naomi Klein, and Judith Butler, and with well-known Islamists such as Syrian cleric Omar Bakri and the head of Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah.
Much of the Western public may see Waters and his ilk as a clan of well-intentioned humanists and pacifists. However, they are the visible faces of a global extremist and antisemitic movement that only targets Israel. They have yet to mount campaigns of marginalization against Iran for hanging homosexuals, against China and Russia for imprisoning Muslims and committing other gross human rights violations, and so on. Their selective moral outrage betrays them.
Julian Schvindlerman is an Argentine writer and journalist specializing in Middle East affairs. He is a columnist for Infobae (Argentina) and Libertad Digital (Spain). He is the author of The Hidden Letter: A History of an Arab-Jewish Family; Triangle of Infamy: Richard Wagner, the Nazis and Israel; Rome and Jerusalem: Vatican policy toward the Jewish state; and Land for Peace, Land for War.