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January 23, 2023 12:45 pm
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Pressure Grows in Frankfurt for Cancellation of Roger Waters Concert Over Rock Singer’s ‘Antisemitism’

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Roger Waters on stage in Los Angeles. Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Pressure is growing for the cancellation of a forthcoming concert in the German city of Frankfurt by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters because of the repeated accusations of antisemitism against the rock musician.

Waters will be touring his “This is Not A Drill 2023” show in several major German cities throughout May, with the Frankfurt concert scheduled for May 28 at the city’s Festhalle arena.

A vocal supporter of the so-called “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement targeting the State of Israel for a comprehensive boycott, Waters’ past tours have featured provocative symbols that included flying pigs branded with a Star of David. In recent years, the singer has flirted with more overt antisemitism, drawing widespread condemnation in 2020 when he described the late pro-Israel billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson as a “puppet master” controlling the US government who believed that “only Jews…are completely human.” Responding to Waters’ attack on Adelson, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) accused him of “deranged antisemitism.”

Several top officials in Frankfurt have already called for the May 28 concert to be canceled, among them the city’s Green Party Mayor Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg. More recently, Uwe Becker, the antisemitism commissioner for the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, slammed Waters as an “example of aggressive, Israel-related antisemitism and he should therefore not be given an artistic platform in Hesse.”

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Mike Josef– a leader of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Frankfurt and a member of the Festhalle’s advisory board — is now seeking an agreement among the concert organizers, the city of Frankfurt and the State of Hesse to formally cancel Waters’ show, the Frankfurter Allgemeine news outlet reported on Monday. One Jewish community advocate, the publicist Michel Friedman, urged that compensation be paid to the organizers to underline that “money should not be an issue in the fight against anti-Jewish hatred.”

In recent months, Waters has attracted criticism for his statements supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. After Waters gave an interview last August in which he called US President Joe Biden a “war criminal” and blamed NATO for Russia’s aggression, the head of Russia’s National Security Council, Dimitri Medvedev, said that the singer’s comments were proof that there were “still decent people in the West.”

Medvedev ended his appreciation of Waters with the words “Pink Floyd forever.” However, Water’s estranged bandmates, guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, reformed the group last April to issue a special single in support of Ukraine’s independence struggle, featuring the Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk.

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