Penny Mordaunt will raise concerns about Roger Waters performing in the UK with the Home Office, she has told the House of Commons.
Jewish groups have raised concerns that the Pink Floyd frontman, who is due to launch the British leg of his world tour next week in Birmingham, will damage “community cohesion” by promoting “deeply troubling political views”.
At a recent Berlin performance, Waters dressed as an SS officer and appeared to compare the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh with the murder of Anne Frank.
The veteran musician has previously claimed the “Jewish lobby” is “extraordinarily powerful” in America, has repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and - at a 2013 show - flew a balloon shaped like a pig branded with the Star of David.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday during business questions, Bury South MP Christian Wakeford said: "The city of Manchester has a rich and vibrant history in which those of different faiths and backgrounds have lived together as well as stood together through difficult times and times of division.
"So I'm concerned to note that Roger Waters is due to play at the AO Arena in Manchester next month.”
Waters “used the name of Anne Frank to stoke division,” in Berlin, he added, asking: "Will the Leader of the House agree with me that concerts like this have no place in our society and shouldn't go ahead, and agree to a debate in Government time on the record levels in anti-Jewish hatred in this country?"
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
Mordaunt, the leader of the house, replied: "I shall make certain that the Home Office has heard [Wakeford's] concerns today and I think that this House has made great efforts, particularly in recent years, to ensure that the scourge of antisemitism is addressed and stamped out from our country.
"I shall certainly make sure that all relevant departments have heard [Wakeford's] concerns today."
Waters is currently set to perform at Manchester’s AO Arena on June 10, completing a tour that will see him appear at Glasgow's OVO Hydro, The O2 in London, and Birmingham’s Utilita Arena.
Writing on Twitter, Katharina von Schnurbein, the EU Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism, condemned the English musician.
She said: “I am sick & disgusted by Roger Waters’ obsession to belittle and trivialize the Shoah & the sarcastic way in which he delights in trampling on the victims, systematically murdered by the Nazis. In Germany.
“Enough is enough. Holocaust trivilisation is criminalized across the EU. [sic]”
Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, who serves as America’s antisemitism envoy, expressed her agreement, adding: “I wholeheartedly concur with [von Schnurbein’s] condemnation of Roger Waters and his despicable Holocaust distortion.”
In a statement, Manchester’s Jewish Representative Council said: “Roger Waters is famous for being a member of one of the most important bands in history.
“Unfortunately, he is now more synonymous with spreading deeply troubling political views that will rightly concern Jewish and other communities across Greater Manchester.
“We have had sight of his concert in Munich where Waters disguised himself as an SS Officer and flashed Anne Frank's name, arguably the most famous victim of the Holocaust above the stage.
"Those who are booking Waters to perform must balance whether it is acceptable to be providing a venue for him to spread these views.
"Jewish communities across Greater Manchester are vibrant and thriving. However, allowing Waters to perform risks damaging community cohesion with the possibility of an increase in hate crime targeting Jewish people.”
Waters has previously denied that he is antisemitic and insisted that he is merely “speaking up for my brothers and sisters in Palestine” in a statement published to his website earlier this month.
Writing in the third person, he added: “Roger Waters stands United with The Frankfurt Jewish Community, in that, he too abhors Anti-Semitism along with all other forms of racism and discrimination.”