Roger Waters: I’m not anti-semitic, I’m anti-occupation
Thursday, Oct 7th, 2010
Legendary Rock group Pink Floyd’s main creative force, Roger Waters, is locked in a fierce battle with the Anti-Defamation League, after the group accused Waters of using anti-semitic imagery in his stage show.
The ADL claims that visuals accompanying the song “Goodbye Blue Sky” on Waters’ latest tour of the seminal 1979 Pink Floyd album The Wall, are intended as “a comment about Jews and money.”
The backdrop, which can be seen in the video below, features huge dark bomber planes dropping a series of red symbols, which culminate in a sea of blood on the landscape below.
The symbols include crosses, a hammer and sickle, a crescent and star, a Mercedes logo and a Shell Oil logo, yet the ADL sees the inclusion of a Star of David along with Dollar signs as reprehensible.
“It is outrageous that Roger Waters has chosen to use the juxtaposition of a Jewish Star of David with the symbol of dollar signs.” an ADL statement issued by director Abraham Foxman last week read.
“While he insists that his intent was to criticize Israel’s West Bank security fence, the use of such imagery in a concert setting seems to leave the message open to interpretation, and the meaning could easily be misunderstood as a comment about Jews and money.”
Foxman added that Waters should have “chosen some other way to convey his political views without playing into and dredging up the worst age-old anti-Semitic stereotype about Jews and their supposed obsession with making money”.
Waters has been open about his opposition to the Israeli fence for several years, and has publicly stated that The Wall live show is his form of protest against such imposed barriers.
The iconic song writer hit back at the accusations earlier this week with a letter published in The London Independent, asserting that he is not anti-semitic, but that he is vehemently anti-occupation.
“There are no hidden meanings in the order or juxtaposition of these symbols.” Waters writes.
“The point I am trying to make in the song is that the bombardment we are all subject to by conflicting religious, political and economic ideologies only encourages us to turn against one another, and I mourn the concomitant loss of life.”
The letter goes on to say that “In so far as The Wall has a political message it is to seek to illuminate our condition, and find new ways to encourage peace and understanding, particularly in the Middle East.”
Waters’ response has only encouraged the ADL to continue their accusations, however. In a response to Waters, Foxman writes:
“We have heard from many of your fans who have attended the concerts in the States and were shocked by the decision to immediately follow the Star of David with dollar signs,”
“We would ask, out of sensitivity to those who might be offended, that you change the order of the symbols so that the dollar signs are made to appear elsewhere in the show. For us, it would put this matter entirely to rest.”
Waters isn’t about to do that however, noting that he has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the visuals, particularly from Jewish and Israeli fans.
Waters further commented that in his opinion the ADL intentionally goes after critics of Israel’s foreign policy by using anti-semitism as justification:
“It’s a screen that they hide behind. I don’t think they should be taken seriously on that. You can attack Israeli policy without being anti-Jewish,” Waters told The Independent.
“It’s like saying if you criticise the US policy you are being anti-Christian. I’m critical of the Israeli policy of occupying Palestinian land and their policy of building settlements, which is entirely illegal under international law, and also of ghettoising the people whose land they are building on.
“It’s that foreign policy I’m against. It’s nothing to do with the religion.”
Clearly the ADL did not watch the live show before making the accusations against Waters, or they are once again intentionally seeking to garner media coverage by creating a false impression of the artist’s intention.
As we have documented, the group has a history of attacking politically active groups and individuals as peddlers of hate, often because they simply disagree with government policy. It is no coincidence that the group consistently lands lucrative government contracts and tie-ins.
ADL director Foxman has been described by former colleagues as a loose cannon who routinely “hatches crackpot ideas” and “foolish initiatives” to generate publicity.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor at Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and regular contributor to Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.
This article was posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:01 am