Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has never hidden his Pro-Palestinian views, but he
draws the line at being called an anti-Semite. Waters was recently called "an open hater
of Jews" by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The
controversy popped up when a fan attending Rog's The Wall show in Belgium filmed an image
of the Star of David on the inflatable pig that floats around the venue during every one
of Waters' performances.
Waters penned an open letter which he posted on his Facebook Page:
There has been some comment on the Internet about the Wall Show in Belgium to which I
feel I should respond.
One Alon Onfus Asif, an Israeli living in Belgium, came to The Wall show in Belgium last
week and being an observant sort of chap Alon noticed a Star of David on the Pig that is
destroyed by the audience at the end of the show. Then Alon dutifully videoed our Pig on
his phone, posted this video, and alerted Israeli Daily, Yediot Ahronot. This story was
duly picked up by the ever watchful Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center and the entirely predictable resulting rant is attached here:
Often I can ignore these attacks but Rabbi Cooper’s accusations, are so wild and bigoted
they demand a response.
Dear Rabbi Cooper,
I hold your outburst to be inflammatory and un-helpful and would suggest it can only
impede progress towards peace and understanding between people. It is also extremely
insulting to me personally in that you accuse me of being ‘Anti Semitic’, ‘A Jew Hater’
and ‘Nazi Sympathizer’
I have three specific points to make:
1). Your use of the adjective “ANTI-SEMITIC”.
First I direct you to an announcement by ‘The Anti Defamation League’ an American
organization, who’s declared aim is to defend Jewish people and Judaism from attack. They
“While we wish that Mr. Waters would have avoided using the Star of David, we believe
there is no anti-Semitic intent here.”
I should point out that in the show, I also use the Crucifix, the Crescent and Star, the
Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil Logo and The McDonald’s Sign, a Dollar Sign and a
2). JEW-HATING? I have many very close Jewish friends, one of whom, interestingly enough,
is the nephew of the late Simon Wiesenthal. I am proud of that association; Simon
Wiesenthal was a great man. Also I have two grandsons who, I love more than life itself,
their Mother, my daughter in law, is Jewish and so, in consequence, I’m told, are they.
3). NAZI? Not only did my father, 2nd Lieutenant Eric Fletcher Waters, die in Italy on
February 18th 1944 fighting the Nazis, but I was brought up in post war England where I
received the most thorough education on the subject of Nazism and where I was spared no
horrific detail of the heinous crimes committed in the name of that most foul ideology. I
remember my mother’s friends Claudette and Maria, I remember their tattoos, they where
survivors, two of the lucky ones.
My Mother spent the whole of the rest of her life, involved politically to make sure the
future for her children and grandchildren, in fact for everyone’s children and
grandchildren, black, white, Gentile, Jew, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, et al,
had no Sword of Damocles in the form of the despised Nazi Creed hanging over their heads.
I for my part, as best I can, have continued along my parent’s path. At the age of nearly
70, in the spirit of my Father and Mother and all they did, I have stood my ground, as
best I can, in defense of Mistress Liberty.
The Wall Show, so lamely attacked by you, is many things. It is thoughtful, life
affirming, ecumenical, humane, loving, anti war, anti colonial, pro universal access to
the law, pro liberty, pro collaboration, pro dialogue, pro peace, anti authoritarian, anti
fascist, anti apartheid, anti dogma, international in spirit, musical and satirical.
It is not.
ANTI-SEMITIC or PRO NAZI
I have often come under attack by the pro Israel lobby because of my support for BDS,
(Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) which I won't go into here, anyone interested can
access a speech I made at The United Nations on the 29th November last year.
However I will say this, in a functioning theocracy it is almost inevitable that the
symbol of the religion becomes confused with the symbol of the state, in this case the
State of Israel, a state that operates Apartheid both within its own borders and also in
the territories it has occupied and colonized since 1967.
Like it or not, the Star of David represents Israel and its policies and is legitimately
subject to any and all forms of non violent protest. To peacefully protest against
Israel’s racist domestic and foreign policies is NOT ANTI-SEMITIC. Your contention that
because I criticize the Policies of the Israeli government I should be lumped in with the
Muslim Brotherhood is risible, and again a personal affront. I have spent my whole adult
life advocating separation of church and state.
At every Wall Show I invite 20 vets from whatever country we are in backstage at half time
to meet, exchange handshakes and good wishes and mementos. At one show, a year or so ago,
an older vet, Vietnam era, at a guess, blocked my exit, he put out his hand which I took,
he did not let go, he looked me in the eyes and he said " Your Father would be proud of
Tears burn my eyes.
The Wall is reaching out to you and all the other Rabbi Cooper’s out there.
Come to the show!
For the sake of some perspective. The inflatable pig that so offended young Alon has
appeared at every Wall Show since September 2010, some 193 shows, yours is the first
complaint. Also the pig in question represents evil, and more specifically the evil of
errant government. We make a gift of this symbol of repression to the audience at the end
of every show and the people always do the right thing. They destroy it.