Following two shows last week in Berlin when the former Pink Floyd frontman showed Nazi-like iconography and allegedly made inappropriate remarks about Holocaust survivor Anne Frank, Roger Waters has drawn the ire of Israeli authorities. The State of Israel’s official account tweeted on Wednesday (May 24), “Good morning to everyone but Roger Waters who spent the evening in Berlin (Yes Berlin) desecrating the memory of Anne Frank and the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust”.
Good morning to every one but Roger Waters who spent the evening in Berlin (Yes Berlin) desecrating the memory of Anne Frank and the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. pic.twitter.com/4tcrV6f8mt
— Israel ישראל 🇮🇱 (@Israel) May 24, 2023
The musician reportedly entered the stage at a two-night performance (May 17–18) at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena with a sign that said, , “The show will start in 10 minutes, and a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an antisemite… just to be clear, I condemn antisemitism unreservedly.” In April, a court in Frankfurt ruled that the city could not cancel Waters’s planned May 28 show after city officials dubbed the singer “one of the most widely known antisemites in the world.”
Particularly on Pink Floyd’s savage 1979 album The Wall, a commentary on loneliness and emotional numbness, whose film version featured unsettling figures that mocked fascist ideology of the kind that the bassist/singer still uses today, Waters’s lyrics and in-concert imagery have long traded in transgressive and provocative imagery.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the singer frequently used images of “humanoid pigs and shady businessmen… pulling the strings” that activists condemned as clear “antisemitic dogwhistle[s].”
The use of these tropes, especially the Holocaust references in Berlin, reportedly offended some due to their proximity to the epicenter of the Nazi’s murderous seat.
The show’s segment listing the names of activists killed by authorities, including anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl, Iranian moral police officer Mahsa Amini, George Floyd, and Jewish teen Anne Frank who was murdered by the Nazi regime at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, was probably the most offensive.
The latter’s name was put just before Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American journalist believed to have died in a confrontation with Palestinian terrorists in May and was shot and killed by Israeli forces. According to the newspaper, the comparison incited “outrage from Israeli and Jewish activists and officials worldwide.”
Following a break, Waters allegedly returned to the stage while brandishing a fake firearm and donning a costume like an SS trooper from the Nazi regime. As “banners in the style of the Third Reich but with crossed hammers instead of the swastika” hung from the ceiling, a giant inflatable pig with various symbols and messages on it, including a substantial Jewish star, flew over the audience.
We came across a few posts on celebrity news that have garnered a lot of attention recently on the internet, including the following:
The performance took place in the city where, during World War II, more than 60,000 Jews were transported to their deaths and where, in November 1938, the “Kristallnacht” purge took place, during which the majority of Berlin’s synagogues were set on fire and Jewish-owned businesses and residences were damaged and looted. Displaying Nazi artifacts or emblems is illegal in Germany.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned the concert in a tweet, writing, “Shame on Frankfurt authorities and Mercedes Benz arena in Berlin — a place from where Jews were deported by the Nazis — for providing anti-Semite #RogerWaters this venue for his concert with no concern/care for the Jewish community.”
In a follow-up tweet, the leading Jewish human rights organization asked, “Will Germany prosecute #RogerWaters for Holocaust distortion or will promoters rush to book the anti-Semite for more lurid 3-D anti-Israel + #Antisemitic hatefests masquerading as concerts?”
Guess which #Antisemitic piece of shit is up to his old tricks again, and actually upping the ante? Defender of dictators, lover of Putin, the living/breathing antithesis of everything he’s supposed to represent. I give you @rogerwaters https://t.co/dtoxvUwmWS
— David Draiman 🟦 (@davidmdraiman) May 24, 2023
A representative for Waters did not respond to Billboard’s request for comment at the time of publication. In addition to equating the conduct of the Israeli government to those of Nazi Germany and apartheid-era South Africa, Waters has been regularly criticized for remarks about the state of Israel that many people regard to be anti-semitic. She has also questioned Israel’s right to exist.