German Jewish group calls for Roger Waters boycott

Iconic Pink Floyd founder accused of using ‘anti-Semitic and National Socialist’ imagery in performances

Roger Waters. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
Roger Waters. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

The Jewish community in Dusseldorf, Germany, is urging a boycott of an upcoming concert by former Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters, who is due to perform there on September 6.

The director of the Jewish Community in Duesseldorf, Michael Szentei-Heise, said in a statement Thursday that Waters was an “intellectual arsonist” whose stage act used “anti-Semitic and National Socialist” imagery.

In his show “The Wall,” based on the classic Pink Floyd album of the same name, Waters has used an inflatable pig featuring a Star of David which appears alongside other religious, political and corporate symbols, leading to charges of anti-Semitism.

The English musician has been reprimanded by institutions and public figures ranging from the Vatican to Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, whose image is also featured in the show. The model recently tweeted, “Roger Waters, you better take my picture off of the video art at your shows. If you’re boycotting — go all the way.”

The Anti-Defamation League has noted Waters’s long-time use of the Jewish symbol, but stated that “while we wish that Mr. Waters would have avoided using the Star of David, we believe there is no anti-Semitic intent here.”

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.”

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.

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