The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a fierce condemnation of a decision to select Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters to present Amnesty International’s upcoming Ambassador of Conscience award, set to be given out later this month.
Citing the iconic rock star’s polarizing views on Israel and his allegedly anti-Semitic use of Jewish symbolism onstage, the group demanded that Amnesty retract its decision because of Water’s “bigoted” views, which promote racial intolerance.
“Once again, Amnesty International is signaling that its fight for human rights apparently does not extend to anti-Semitism,” Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Center, said in a statement.
“Instead of denouncing Roger Waters for his bigotry, Amnesty International places him center-stage of their human rights celebration,” Cooper added.
“Instead of commending Israel for its humanitarian treatment of injured Syrian combatants and civilians, instead on focusing on the gassing of Syrian children and mounting human rights abuses in the Arab world; Amnesty International has chosen to elevate someone who abuses Israel and insults Jewish values and symbols,” the statement read.
In his show “The Wall,” based on the classic Pink Floyd album by the same name, Waters uses an inflatable pig featuring a Star of David which appears alongside other religious, political and corporate symbols. The spectacle has spawned charges of anti-Semitism.
The musician has previously rebuffed critics of the show by saying his usage of the Star of David isn’t intended to be anti-Semitic.
The English musician has been reprimanded by institutions and public figures ranging from the Vatican to Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, whose image he featured in recent shows. Last month, Refaeli tweeted, “Roger Waters, you better take my picture off of the video art at your shows. If you’re boycotting — go all the way.”
Waters is a prominent supporter of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. In an August 18 open letter to the “family of rock and roll,” he wrote, “please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”