Some of Germany’s top government officials responsible for combating antisemitism have called on German music venues to cancel the German leg of former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters' forthcoming tour.
Mr Waters, a long-time critic of Israel and a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has a history of using his platform to make controversial statements.
Antisemitism Commissioner for the State of Berlin, Samuel Salzborn, called for the cancellation of Mr Water’s upcoming Berlin concert in May.
During an interview with Berliner Zeitung Magazine, Mr Salzborn described the 79-year-old as “one of the loudest voices in the music business spreading anti-Israel and antisemitic [rhetoric].”
Mr Salzborn was not alone in calling for the dates of Mr Water’s “This is Not A Drill” tour in Germany to be scrapped.
Last month, Bavaria’s antisemitism commissioner Ludwig Spaenle asked the city of Munich to cancel the concert to be held in the Olympiahalle venue if Mr Waters did not distance himself from the BDS movement.
Uwe Becker, the central state of Hesse’s antisemitism commissioner and Representative for Jewish life and the Fight against antisemitism, also wished to see Mr Waters barred from performing in Frankfurt, the largest city in Hesse.
Mr Becker said last month that Mr Waters had “developed more and more into a hateful opponent of Israel.
“For years, Mr Waters has been using his reputation to agitate against the Jewish state in a defamatory way and to question its legitimacy.
“Waters is a bad example of aggressive, Israel-related antisemitism and he should therefore not be given an artistic platform in Hesse.”
Mr Water’s “This is Not A Drill” 2023 tour will see him playing at venues across Europe. Concerts in the German cities of Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt will take place in May 2023.
The organisers of Mr Water’s tour, FKP Scorpio, have distanced themselves from the musician’s political positions.
A spokesperson told the German Press Agency DPA that they had signed the tour contract with Mr Waters before they became aware of individual statements made by the artist that they themselves found “problematic and does not at all reflect our own reviews”.
At the end of his 2018 concert in Berlin, Mr Waters repeatedly promoted the BDS movement.
At the time the Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter slammed Mr Waters for stoking antisemitism and said the Olympic Hall would not be rented to him in the future, due to his advocacy for BDS.
Mr Reiter said, “It is important for me to make it unmistakably clear that antisemitic propaganda of Roger Waters is neither welcome in Munich nor will it remain unanswered.”
In a post to his website on November 4, 2022, Mr Waters said: “I’ve heard there is a rumour going round that I may not be coming to Germany on my European tour, because of opposition from the Israeli lobby. RUBBISH! I WOULDN’T MISS MY GIGS IN GERMANY FOR ANYTHING!
“The Mayor of Munich and some members of the Green and SDP political parties and some other mouthpieces for the Israeli lobby have been slandering me, accusing me of being an antisemite and also a Putin apologist,
“I am neither of those things. Never have been and never will be.
“Your Ruling Class and your media want to ban me from bringing my message of love and peace and revolution to enrich your lives. WELL I’M COMING, and together we will raise the roof on this charade, this looking the other way, as one ethnic group commits slow genocide upon another.”
Dear German fans,— Roger Waters ✊ (@rogerwaters) November 4, 2022
I’ve heard there is a rumor going round that I may not be coming to Germany on my European tour, because of opposition from the Israeli Lobby. RUBBISH! I WOULDN'T MISS MY GIGS IN GERMANY FOR ANYTHING!
Read more: https://t.co/NnADgM43DE pic.twitter.com/V7wk8y7TXq
Mr Waters drew condemnation earlier this year when, a week before the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, he told an interviewer of the state-controlled Russia Today that the talk of an imminent attack was “BS” and propaganda meant to demonise Russia.
Following the invasion, Mr Waters accused the West, led by the US, of having invested interests in prolonging the war and that Russia was responding to NATO provocations.
His comments over Ukraine caused widespread outrage in Poland and led to Mr Waters being labelled a “persona non grata” by Kraków’s city council.
Roger Waters’ manager has cancelled the April concert dates in Kraków “without reason”. Mr Waters accused a Kraków a councillor of attempting to censor him.