Roger Waters sang ‘f***ing Jew’ song, claims former producer

Documentary makes explosive new allegations about the former Pink Floyd frontman


2F03HT4 Roger Waters performs in concert on The Wall Live tour at Time Warner Cable Arena, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT/Sipa USA)

Roger Waters delivered an impromptu ditty that referred to his Jewish agent as a “f***ing Jew”, the rock star’s ex-producer has claimed in an explosive new documentary about the former Pink Floyd frontman.   

The film also claims Waters once referred disparagingly to a vegetarian restaurant meal as “Jew food” and alleges he said that European Jews could not trace their origins to ancient Israel, but were “just white men like me with beards”.

The documentary, The Dark Side of Roger Waters, which was made by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and presented by the veteran BBC investigative journalist John Ware, also claims Waters suggested in an email that the giant inflatable pig that floats above the audience at his shows should be adorned not only with a Star of David but the phrases “follow the money” and “dirty kyke [sic]”.

Most of the key allegations about Waters in the documentary are made by two music professionals who are well-known in their own right and who worked closely with the rock star over many years.

Bob Ezrin, who is Jewish and Waters’s former producer, is a music business legend who has also worked with artists including Alice Cooper, KISS and Taylor Swift. The other key interviewee is Jewish saxophonist Norbert Stachel, who spent years touring the world as a member of Waters’ band.

As well as levelling allegations in the film about Waters, both men pay tribute to his virtues and talent. According to Ezrin, Waters is “a brilliant songwriter, a brilliant poet”, who can be “exquisitely sensitive”, “tender” and “sweet”. Stachel admits that he never challenged what he regarded as Water’s unacceptable statements, “because I wanted his money and I wanted his gig”.

However, Ezrin says that Waters is also a “bully” and someone who “finds the weak spot in others to make themselves more powerful”. He adds that although “part of me still loves him, part of me is very upset with him for positions that he’s taking in the public that affect me as a Jew. And affect my people and my family and my friends and I feel that’s why I have to do this interview and speak about it publicly."

Ezrin also says that in his view, Waters genuinely does not see himself as an antisemite and believes he is a strident campaigner against racism and fascism. Waters has always denied he is antisemitic, saying that the allegation arises from his opposition to Israel’s government, which “sees me as existentialist threat to their settler-colonialist racist apartheid regime”.

Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Roger Waters has repeatedly used his enormous platform to bait Jews, but he always claims that he is not antisemitic. We believed that there was further evidence out there, and the release of The Dark Side of Roger Waters now puts the evidence we obtained in the hands of the public.

“Is Roger Waters an antisemite? Now people can make up their own minds.”

Ezrin, who co-produced Pink Floyd’s global hit album The Wall, claims in the film he was present when Waters sang an antisemitic ditty about his former agent, the late Bryan Morrison, who was Jewish: “I can’t remember the exact circumstance… but the last line of the couplet was “...’cos Morry is a f****ing Jew’.”

However, Ezrin adds, “I’m embarrassed to say that I was so shocked that I didn’t say anything.” Because the incident took place “early on in the relationship”, he says, he “kind of chalked it up to just stupidity on his part and a kind of nascent antisemitism that existed in England and many places around the world”.

The film, which was funded by CAA and broadcast on the anti-racism group’s website, also reveals emails allegedly written by Waters in 2010 about the famous giant pig that floats above the audience during gigs.

In one, Waters apparently suggested the pig should be decorated with crosses, Stars of David, dollar signs and “epithets” such as “dirty kyke”, “follow the money” and “scum”. Ezrin says that, in his view, the pig became a “rallying cry” for antisemites in the audience. The film reports that after the band’s Jewish lighting director protested, the phrase “dirty kyke” was abandoned, although Waters’s pig did bear the Star of David at concerts until 2013.

It is also claimed that Waters went on to suggest in a further email that audiences should be showered with confetti shaped in what he called “political and religious symbols”, including a Star of David, a Nazi swastika and a dollar sign, which should be “dropped like bombs” from the ceiling. In the end, the swastika was not used — but both dollar-sign and Star of David-shaped confetti was dropped onto crowds.

Touring this year, Waters juxtaposed images of Anne Frank, who was murdered in the Holocaust, with the Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was accidentally shot by an Israeli soldier while covering clashes in the West Bank last year. One of the most bizarre alleged incidents described by Stachel took place when he and Waters dined at a Lebanese restaurant, and the waiters brought a succession of vegetarian dishes.

According to Stachel, Waters pushed a dish with his arm and berated the waiter, saying: “That’s it! That’s it! Where’s the meat? Where’s the meat? What’s with this? This is Jew food! What’s with the Jew food! Take away the Jew food!”

Stachel also claims that Waters repeatedly asked him probing questions about his Jewish heritage, on one occasion putting on an accent and pretending to be his Jewish grandmother.

Once, Stachel says, he overheard an argument Waters had with a former girlfriend on the way to a venue, in which the singer reportedly said that Jews were not a race, but “white European men that grow beards and they practise the religion Judaism but they’re no different than me they have no difference in their background or their history or their culture or anything”.

Stachel says he was warned not to protest over Waters’s alleged antisemitism by another Jewish member of his entourage, who told him: “If you want to keep this job, let me give you some advice. Just shut up about the Jewish stuff and keep it to yourself… don’t make a fuss.”

Asked whether Waters was an antisemite, Ezrin says: “As a person with a powerful public platform he has a responsibility to understand that what he does affects other people. And so he may not be one but he walks like one, he quacks one, he swims like one, so you know, from my point of view he’s functionally a duck.” Waters, Ezrin adds, “does things and says things that Jewish people take as an attack against us as a group as an ethnic group.”

Last weekend, Waters claimed that he had been barred from Pennsylvania University, where he was to speak at a Palestinian literary festival. In a video, he blamed the campus newspaper for publishing an article “all about how I might be an antisemite”.

This, he said, was a “diversionary tactic”, adding: “If they can get you thinking and talking about antisemitism then you won’t be thinking about the fact that Palestinians have no human rights in the occupied territories.

“That is what we should be talking about in the Daily Pennsylvanian, not whether Roger Waters is an antisemite or not. And by the way, he’s not… Shall I tell you how I know? I am Roger Waters and this is my heart, and it doesn’t have even the slightest flicker of antisemitism in it, anywhere.”

A university spokesman later said it was because of last-minute logistical and security concerns.

Accused on social media of being antisemitic “to his rotten core” by Polly Samson, the wife of his former bandmate Dave Gilmour, Waters retaliated on stage earlier this year, saying: “All I have to say about Polly Samson is: imagine waking up to that every morning!” This, Ezrin says, was “just incendiary… sexist [and] provocative”.

Last week, the JC emailed detailed questions to Waters, asking him to respond to the film’s allegations, including all those described above. He has not replied. Requests for comment from the programme-makers also went unanswered, we understand.

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