Roger Waters is about to have his pathological hatred of the Jewish state put under the microscope in an upcoming documentary film.
Halperin’s work includes documentaries on Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. For the past two years, the investigative journalist has been making Wish You Weren’t Here, a documentary examining contemporary anti-Semitism and Waters’ efforts to make Israel a global pariah.
“During my research,” Halperin continued, “I came upon Roger Waters, and I couldn’t believe he was singling out Israel when there are so many truly egregious violators of human rights in the world. Why is he going after Israel? So, I began asking people what this guy has against Israel. To me, an attack on Israel is an attack against the Jewish people.”
Halperin met with psychologists who work with Holocaust survivors and their families. He described the effect of Waters’ floating pig bearing the Star of David as “unforgiveable” for survivors, comparing it to a scene in his film where a three-year-old Palestinian girl is “brainwashed” into believing Jews are pigs.
In preparation for the documentary, Halperin interviewed leaders in the South African anti-apartheid struggle. They found Waters’ comparison to Israel offensive and demeaning to their people’s suffering.
“I’ve met Mandela,” said Halperin. “I’ve met all the leaders who fought to liberate South Africa. Waters doesn’t know what he’s talking about. South Africans are insulted by his claims. You can argue with some of Israel’s policies, no problem. But to call for a universal boycott of Israel is deplorable, baseless and unfounded. It’s an anti-Semitic attack.”
The son of a Holocaust survivor, Halperin was inspired to produce this film by his childhood friend, Dr. Charles Small.
“Charles was aware my father was a Holocaust survivor. My dad hid in a cave from age 6 to age 13. His mother and sister died of starvation. Growing up, in my family you weren’t supposed to talk about any of this and just try to move forward,” recalled Halperin. “It was Dr. Small who woke me up. And in the course of my research and investigation, I’ve never come across a story more filled with hate, prejudice and misinformation than the vitriol that Roger Waters is spewing to the world.”
“We are in a very confused time now,” Small explained to the Observer. “The old religious forms of anti-Semitism and the racist nationalist forms of anti-Semitism are, for the most part, problems of the past. There are three forms of anti-Semitism, and the new one is the demonization and delegitimization of Israel and Jewish peoplehood—and that has become acceptable.”
Small continued, “We have to unpack it for scholars and intellectuals but also for popular culture, and that is why Ian’s work is so important. Through the film and through this project, we’re trying to wake people up to contemporary antisemitism and get them to stand up against all forms of hatred as well.”
Halperin’s documentaries have been aired on CNN and in over 160 countries. Wish You Weren’t Here features interviews and remarks by intellectuals and entertainers such as Alan Dershowitz and Howard Stern and will be released late this summer.
Waters is bound to hate this film. Which makes me like it already without having seen it.