US brands Roger Waters performance in Berlin 'deeply offensive to Jewish people'

It comes as the Pink Floyd singer gave a performance at the O2 in London on Tuesday


NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: Roger Waters performs at Madison Square Garden on August 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The US government has waded into the Roger Waters antisemitism row after the rock legend wore a Nazi-style uniform at a Berlin concert.

German police are investigating whether the Pink Floyd co-founder, a vocal critic of Israel, incited hatred through the May concert in which he wore a long, black coat with armbands.

And last night (Tuesday, June 6), the US State Department weighed in by saying that the concert "contained imagery that is deeply offensive to Jewish people and minimized the Holocaust."

In a written response to questions, they added: “The artist in question has a long track record of using anti-Semitic tropes to denigrate Jewish people.”

The department did not respond to follow up questions, including whether officials had viewed the concert and in what form, and did not give examples of Waters' alleged use of antisemitic tropes.

However, the State Department comment was in support of its envoy on combating antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt, who slated Waters’ "despicable Holocaust distortion."

Her comment was in turn a response to her European Union counterpart Katharina von Schnurbein, who said she was "sick and disgusted by Roger Waters' obsession to belittle and trivialise the Shoah," using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

But in a statement when Berlin police opened the probe, Waters said: "My recent performance in Berlin has attracted bad-faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles.”

Waters also noted his demagogic role on stage wasn't new. He has long taken to the stage in the guise of a dictator as part of a hallucinatory plot twist in performing "The Wall," the acclaimed 1979 Pink Floyd album that touches on isolation, mental illness and political extremism.

He has long criticised Israel, urging a cultural boycott and flying an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David at his concerts. Waters has also triggered controversy by accusing Ukraine of provoking its invasion by Russia.

At the May 17 concert, Waters appeared to draw parallels between the deaths of several people by flashing their names on a large screen, including those of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp.

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