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German TV pulls Roger Waters concert over antisemitism charge

Broadcaster WDR decides it won’t sponsor former Pink Floyd frontman's upcoming gig

    Roger Waters performing in in Los Angeles, California, in June 2017
    Roger Waters performing in in Los Angeles, California, in June 2017 Getty Images

    A German public broadcaster has pulled its sponsorship of a Roger Waters concert after a public petition urged the corporation “not to grant support with public money for…an antisemite”.

    Malca Goldstein-Wolf, a German Jewish woman, launched a campaign urging Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) to withdraw its support for the former Pink Floyd frontman, who is himself a leading figure in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

    “I do not want to resign myself to the new hatred of Jews here, I’m sick of it,” Ms Goldstein-Wolf told German newspaper Bild.

    Known for his vocal anti-Israel views, Mr Waters has also been accused of antisemitism. Up until 2013, the Anti-Defamation League, which combats Jew hatred in America, had defended Mr Waters against such charges.

    However, after an interview in which Mr Waters compared Israel to Nazi Germany, the organisation said the singer’s “comments about Jews and Israel have gotten progressively worse over time. It started with anti-Israel invective, and has now morphed into conspiratorial anti-Semitism.”

    It is not the first time Mr Waters has faced calls for boycotts of his performances. His September tour in North America was marked by a number of Jewish groups urging venues to cancel bookings for his concerts.

    On Saturday, the head of WDR Tom Burhow responded to messages on social media, saying: “I feel that words and excuses will not convince members of your community - only definitive action will.

    “I tell you, since it’s important to me that you should know how important your feelings are to me: sponsorship of the concert is cancelled. Please regard my clear decision as a personal message of trustworthiness and understanding.”

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