German City of Frankfurt Cancels Roger Waters Concert, Describing Singer as One of ‘World’s Best-Known Antisemites’
by Ben Cohen
The city of Frankfurt on Friday announced that it was canceling the forthcoming concert of former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters, citing his alleged status “one of the world’s best-known antisemites” as the reason.
The May 28 concert was to have been staged at the German city’s Festhalle venue. A statement from the city council announcing the cancelation observed out that the venue had been used to detain 3,000 Jewish men arrested following the Nov. 9-10, 1938 nationwide pogrom in which Nazi thugs targeted Jews and their property.
The council pointed out that the city of Frankfurt owns a 60 percent stake in the Festhalle venue while the state of Hesse owns 40 percent. The decision to cancel Waters’ appearance was communicated to a local magistrate earlier this week and approved on Friday. Pressure had been growing in Frankfurt to cancel the concert since January.
The council roundly condemned Waters for backing the campaign to subject the State of Israel to a regime of “boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS)” as a prelude to its elimination as a sovereign state, and for pressuring other artists not to perform in Israel. It also highlighted the use of antisemitic imagery in Waters’ past concerts, including a balloon shaped like a pig and embossed with a Star of David and various corporate logos.
German Jewish organizations warmly welcomed the announcement, with the Jewish community in the city declaring in a statement, “We are proud of our Frankfurt today.”
A separate statement from the Central Council of German Jews asserted that the “decision by the city of Frankfurt and the state of Hesse shows that antisemitism in art and culture does not have to be tolerated.” The statement further urged venues in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and Cologne hosting Waters’ “This is Not A Drill 2023” tour to reconsider. Earlier this week, a cross-party group of politicians on the Cologne City Council called for Waters’ May 9 concert at the Lanxess Arena to be canceled.
Waters’ recent activities have included a Feb. 8 appearance at the UN Security Council. Invited to address the body by the Russian mission to the UN, Waters delivered a rambling speech in which he claimed to be speaking on behalf of the world’s “voiceless majority” while denouncing Ukraine’s democratic government as “provocateurs.”
The singer’s detractors number his former Pink Floyd bandmate, guitarist David Gilmour. Responding to an interview Waters gave to a German news outlet earlier this year in which he accused Israel of waging “genocide,” Gilmour and his wife, the novelist Polly Samson, tweeted: “Sadly Roger Waters, you are antisemitic to your rotten core. Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense.”