Roger Waters blames ‘Israeli lobby’ for alleged Argentina, Uruguay hotel ban

Hotels reportedly refusing to take bookings for former Pink Floyd frontman, accused by the US of antisemitism, after local Jewish community leaders asked them to shun him

Roger Waters performs during a live concert in Assago, near Milan, Italy, April 18, 2018. (Luca Bruno/AP)
Roger Waters performs during a live concert in Assago, near Milan, Italy, April 18, 2018. (Luca Bruno/AP)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Roger Waters on Wednesday accused “the Israeli lobby” of getting him barred him from hotels in South America.

The former Pink Floyd frontman, just off several concerts in Brazil as part of his “This Is Not a Drill” tour, is scheduled to perform in Montevideo on Friday, followed by Buenos Aires next Tuesday and Wednesday.

But the British-born performer, who campaigns for a cultural boycott of Israel and has been accused of antisemitism by the US government and Jewish groups, told Argentina’s Pagina 12 newspaper he has no choice but to stay in lodgings in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as he was not able find a room in Argentina or Uruguay.

“Somehow these idiots of the Israeli lobby managed to co-opt all the hotels in Buenos Aires and Montevideo and organized this extraordinary boycott based on the malicious lies… about me,” Pagina 12 quoted him as saying in an article published in Spanish.

He said, “I had a dinner date on the 16th with José Mujica, the former president of Uruguay, who is a friend of mine,” but now Waters would be unable to attend. Mujica in 2014 accused Israel of committing “genocide” in the Gaza Strip.

Waters added: “I have not had a single antisemitic thought in my entire life.”

Lawyer Carlos Broitman told AFP he had filed a complaint against Waters with a federal court, considering his visit was an opportunity for the artist to “spread his message of hate and to incite or aggravate antisemitism.”

Roger Waters dressed as a fascist while onstage in Berlin, May 2023. (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the copyright law)

Argentina has Latin America’s largest Jewish population, with some 250,000 members of the community.

In neighboring Uruguay, the presidents of the Central Israelite Committee, Roby Schindler, and of the Jewish NGO B’Nai B’Rith, Franklin Rosenfeld, accused Rogers of being a “propagator” of Jewish hatred, in letters addressed to the Sofitel hotel chain and disseminated on social media.

Schindler called Waters a “misogynist, xenophobe and antisemitic” while Rosenfeld threatened an anti-Sofitel campaign if the hotel hosted the “antisemitic artist.”

Waters “takes advantage of his fame as an artist to lie and spew his hatred towards Israel and all Jews,” Schindler said, according to Pagina 12. “By receiving him, you will be, even if you do not want to, propagating the hatred that this man exudes,” Schindler added and urged against hosting the singer.

Approached by AFP, hotels in Montevideo declined to comment on Waters’ claims that he was being excluded.

‘Genocide of the Palestinian people’

Waters has for years been accused of antisemitism, including from by the US government earlier this year. The US State Department said Waters has “a long track record of using antisemitic tropes to denigrate Jewish people.”

Speaking to Pagina 12, he denied that. “They do it because I believe in human rights, and I speak openly about the genocide of the Palestinian people,” Waters said.

Israeli soldiers remove bodies of Israeli civilians killed by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

In a recent interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald, Waters said the devastating attack by Hamas terrorists in Israel on October 7 that killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, “was blown out of all proportion by the Israelis inventing stories about beheading babies.”

That attack, the worst in Israel’s history, and the biggest single-day massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust, saw some 3,000 terrorists burst through the border from Gaza and rampage through the south of Israel, overrunning communities and slaughtering those they found. Terrorists also abducted at least 240 people of all ages, including infants and children, who were taken hostage in Gaza.

Twenty-one of those kidnapped were Argentine citizens, according to Buenos Aires.

Israel has produced horrifying visual evidence of the atrocities, including video taken by the terrorists and posted to social media, recordings from bodycams worn by attackers, and footage taken by rescuers who eventually reached the massacre sites.

Waters, one of the highest-grossing touring artists of all time, has urged a cultural boycott of Israel and has flown an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David at his concerts.

Berlin police opened an investigation after Waters donned a seemingly Nazi-inspired costume at a concert in May.

The European Union’s antisemitism official said Waters belittled the Holocaust.

Waters, 80, also has performances scheduled in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador in the coming weeks.

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