Pink Floyd's Waters insists critics misread symbols

By Jennifer Lipman, October 7, 2010

British rock singer Roger Waters has dismissed the claim by American Jewry's main defence organisation that parts of his current concert tour "cross the line into antisemitism".

The former Pink Floyd bass player and vocalist was attacked by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for using a projection which shows Israel dropping bombs in the shape of stars of David, followed by the dollar symbol.

The animated scene - an attack on Israel's security barrier - forms the backdrop to performances of the song Goodbye Blue Sky, from the hit 1979 album The Wall. The images also show the B52 bomber dropping symbols including the Shell logo and a crucifix.

Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director, criticised the "outrageous" choice of imagery, saying it was "playing into and dredging up the worst age-old antisemitic stereotype about Jews and their supposed obsession with making money".

But Mr Waters, rebutting the accusations of antisemitism, said, in a letter to the Independent: "Nothing could be further from the truth.

"You can attack Israeli policy without being anti-Jewish. It's like saying if you criticise the US policy, you are being anti-Christian."

He said he was critical of Israeli settlement policy "which is entirely illegal under international law, and also of ghettoising the people whose land they are building on. It's that foreign policy I'm against. It's nothing to do with the religion."

The Surrey-born singer, 67, said the symbols had been chosen to represent religious, national and commercial interests "which have a malign influence on our lives". He said: "Contrary to Mr Foxman's assertion, there are no hidden meanings in the order or juxtaposition of these symbols."

Four years ago Mr Waters moved the location of a concert in Israel from Tel Aviv to the Jewish-Arab village of Neve Shalom in order to demonstrate solidarity with peace campaigners.

In July, he played a charity concert on behalf of Palestinian children.

Last updated: 5:17pm, October 7 2010