German broadcaster pulls Roger Waters concert over anti-Semitism
Leon Neal (AFP/File)
Roger Waters' planned “Us + Them” cooperation concert set to take place next June in Cologne, Germany, was pulled from public television outlet Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) on Saturday amid rising protests against the singers’s anti-Semitic views.
Leading the campaign against the controversial former Pink Floyd member was Cologne-resident Malca Goldstein-Wolf whose mid-November petition headed: “No support for the antisemite Roger Waters with public funds of the WDR,” gained almost 1400 signatures.
“Roger Waters may be a talented artist,” said Goldstein-Wolf in her petition letter to Tom Buhrow, chairman of the Cologne-based TV outlet, “however, he puts a large part of his commitment as a figurehead for the antisemitic association BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) in the fight against Israel.”
Referencing Waters controversial use of anti-Semitic imagery in previous concerts, she continued, “during his concerts [he] releases pig-shaped balloons that are imprinted with the Star of David and calls on his fans to boycott Israeli products.”
“Does the WDR really want to support the new form of, ‘do not buy from Jews’?” Goldstein-Wolf added, echoing the wording plastered across Jewish shops in 1930s Germany during Hitler’s ascendance to power.
In a Facebook post response on Saturday, Buhrow wrote, “I sense that not many words and arguments will convince you, rather only clear actions."
"Those I give to you, because it is important to me that you believe me how important your feelings are to me. That is why I comply with your request: the cooperation with the concert was ended.”
The Pink Floyd legend is a leading proponent of BDS and has been active in urging musicians to avoid performing in the country, invoking human rights as his rationale for snubbing the Israeli music scene.
Australian artist Nick Cave, who last week played two-sold out concerts to Israeli fans in an attempt to make a “principled stand”, criticized Waters in a news conference saying, “if you play Israel, you have to go through a sort of public humiliation from Waters and Co, and no one wants to be publicly shamed.”
Cave and his band, the Bad Seeds, join other high-profile artists refusing the boycott that include Metallica, Elton John, Madonna and Radiohead.
The BDS debate has polarized supporters and denouncers of Israel in a long-standing heated dispute about its marked impact. The former faction questions the effectiveness of cultural boycotts due to a minimal effect on the economy whilst the latter claims it as an important way to assert international pressure.
i24NEWS Germany correspondent Polina Garaev contributed reporting from Berlin.
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