BERLIN — Several Jewish groups, politicians and an alliance of civil society groups are planning a memorial ceremony and a protest rally against a concert by Roger Waters in Frankfurt this evening.
They accuse the Pink Floyd co-founder of antisemitism — an allegation he denies.
Waters has also drawn their ire for his support of the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israel.
Frankfurt authorities had initially tried to prevent the concert, but Waters challenged that move successfully in a local court.
The concert is taking place in the city’s Festhalle, where in November 1938 more than 2,700 Jews were rounded up by the Nazis, beaten and abused, and later deported to concentration camps.
“It’s very frustrating” that the concert is going ahead as scheduled even though Frankfurt officials and many others tried to prevent it, says Elio Adler, the head of the Jewish group WerteInitiative, which supports the protest.
“His words and imagery spread Jew-hatred and are part of a trend: to normalize Israel-hatred under the protection of freedom of speech or art,” Adler adds.
Last week, police in Berlin said they had opened an investigation of Waters on suspicion of incitement over a costume the Pink Floyd co-founder wore when he performed in the German capital earlier this month.
Images on social media showed Waters firing an imitation machine gun while dressed in a long black coat with a red armband. Police confirmed that an investigation was opened over suspicions that the context of the costume could constitute a glorification, justification or approval of Nazi rule and therefore a disturbance of the public peace.
Waters rejected those accusations in a statement on Facebook and Instagram, saying that “the elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms.”