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April 5, 2023 10:00 am

‘A Slap in the Face:’ German Religious Organizations Call on City of Munich to Cancel ‘Antisemitic’ Roger Waters Concert

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avatar by Ben Cohen

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

Two interfaith organizations bringing together Christians and Jews in the German state of Bavaria have urged the authorities in the city of Munich to cancel the forthcoming May 29 concert by former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters.

A joint open letter to the city council from the Munich Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation (GCJZM) and the Munich Council of Religions (RR) claimed that Waters — a vocal supporter of the campaign to subject the State of Israel to a regime of “boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS)” — is “known for his aggressive and open hatred of Jews.”

Waters was scheduled to appear in five German cities as part of this “This is Not A Drill 2023” tour. Last month, the city of Frankfurt canceled his May 28 concert at the city’s state-owned Festhalle venue, citing his status as “one of the world’s best-known antisemites” as the reason for the cancelation.

However, while the Festhalle is wholly owned by the city and state authorities, the other German venues hosting Waters — 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.

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In their letter, the two religious organizations remarked that it was “more than strange and incomprehensible that despite numerous protests, in particular by the Jewish community in Munich and the liberal Jewish community in Munich, Beth Shalom, this event was not cancelled. We all find this deeply hurtful and painful, even a slap in the face.”

They argued that “having this concert in Munich harbors the danger of taking this as a sign of legitimacy and support for antisemitic tendencies.” They called “on those responsible in the city of Munich to take all organizational and legal steps to prevent this unspeakable concert,” at the same time appealing to residents of the Munich to boycott the concert and attend “counter-events” instead.

The call from the two groups came as Waters announced that he had submitted an urgent application with the Frankfurt Administrative Court challenging the decision to cancel his Festhalle appearance. The application is directed against the city and state of Hesse as the venue’s shareholders, Gabriele Förster, Vice President of the Administrative Court, told local radio.

A decision on Waters’ application is expected later this month. In a statement issued last week, the singer declared, “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!”

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