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March 28, 2023 1:00 pm

Vowing Frankfurt Concert Will Go Ahead, Roger Waters Accuses City Authorities of ‘Bullying’ Over Antisemitism Allegations

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Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters on stage. Photo: Reuters/Amr Alfiky

Former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters has pledged to take legal action against the city of Frankfurt after it cited the musician’s alleged antisemitism as the principal reason for its cancelation for his May 28 concert.

In a statement issued in London on Tuesday, Waters declared that “Politicians have no right to intimidate and bully artists and their fans with performance bans.”

He continued: “I fight for all of our human rights, including the right to free speech. We are on the road to Frankfurt. Frankfurt, here we come!”

Waters released his statement after receiving a letter from the concert promoter at the instigation of the German state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, confirming that the May 28 concert would not go ahead as planned at the city’s Festhalle venue. The city council described Waters as “one of the world’s best-known antisemites” in its initial announcement of the cancelation.

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While the Festhalle is wholly owned by the city and state authorities, the other German venues hosting Waters’ “This Not A Drill 2023 Tour” — in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich — are commercial enterprises and say they risk breach of contract proceedings if they cancel the concerts. Efforts by local politicians to cancel the Cologne date have been in motion for at least a month, while last week, Munich Mayor Dieter Mayer described as “unbearable” the news that Waters’ concert would go ahead in the Bavarian city after all.

Waters’ legal team is now examining whether to file a restraining order to allow the Frankfurt concert to go ahead. The Cologne-based lawyer Ralf Höcker, who represents Waters in Germany, told German radio on Tuesday that the moves to ban the singer contributed nothing “to the important fight against antisemitism” while “costing millions in taxpayers money.”

Waters has established himself as one of the most visible supporters of 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. Waters’ concerts have included antisemitic motifs, such as a Star of David embossed on a pig, while he has made incendiary comments in a number of media interviews about the alleged power of the “Jewish lobby” in the US and Israel’s supposed program of “genocide” targeting the Palestinians.

The singer’s 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.”

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