Germany’s Berliner-Zeitung recently published an interview they conducted with Roger Waters. And believe it or not, he sounds even more vile than ever.
For instance, he defends Putin:
Berliner Zeitung: Mr. Waters, you speak of the voice of reason, of the deep connection between all people. But when it comes to the war in Ukraine, you talk a lot about the mistakes of the US and the West, not about the Russian war and Russian aggression. Why don’t you condemn the acts committed by Russia? You have supported Pussy Riot and other human rights organizations in Russia. Why don’t you criticize Putin clearly?
… They called Putin a “gangster” …
… exactly, I have. But maybe I had to change my mind in the last year. There is a podcast called The Duran. The moderators speak Russian and can read Putin’s speeches in the original. Your comments make sense to me. The most important reason for Western arms deliveries to Ukraine is certainly the profit of the arms industry. And I wonder: Is Putin a bigger gangster than Joe Biden and everyone who has shaped American politics since World War II? I’m not so sure about that. Putin has not invaded Vietnam or Iraq. Or?
The most important reason for arms deliveries is the following: to support Ukraine, to win the war and to stop Russian aggression. You seem to see it differently.
Yes. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I’m more open now to what Putin is actually saying. According to independent voices, he rules gently and takes decisions based on a consensus prevailing within the government of the Russian Federation. In Russia, too, there are critical intellectuals who have been arguing against American imperialism since the 1950s. And a central sentence was always: Ukraine is a red line. Ukraine must remain a neutral buffer state. If it doesn’t stay that way, we don’t know where it will lead. We still don’t know, but it could end in a third world war.
In February 2022, it was Putin who decided to attack.
He launched what he still calls a “military special operation.” He initiated it on a basis of reasons which, if I understand them correctly, are as follows: First, he wants to prevent the potential genocide of the Russian-speaking population in Donbass. Secondly, he wants to fight fascism in Ukraine. There is a young Ukrainian girl, Alina, with whom I exchanged long letters: “I hear you. I understand your pain.” She answered me, thanked me, but emphasized: “I’m sure you’re wrong about one thing: I’m 200 percent sure that there are no Nazis in Ukraine.” I answered : “I’m sorry, Alina, but you’re wrong. How can you live in Ukraine and not know that?”
There is no evidence that genocide threatened in Ukraine. At the same time, Putin has repeatedly stressed that he wants to bring Ukraine back into his empire. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Putin that the saddest day of his life was in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Isn’t the word origin of “Ukraine” the Russian word for “borderland”? The country was part of Russia and the Soviet Union for a long time. This is a difficult story. I think during World War II a large part of the population of western Ukraine chose to collaborate with the Nazis. They killed Jews, Roma, communists and all other people the Third Reich wanted dead. To this day there is a conflict between western Ukraine (with the part with or without Nazis, Alina) and eastern and southern Ukraine (i.e. Donbass and Crimea). You have to remember: there are many Russian-speaking Ukrainians because the country was part of Russia for hundreds of years. How to solve such a problem? Neither the government in Kyiv nor the Russians can solve it by winning. Putin has always emphasized that he has no interest in taking over western Ukraine – or invading Poland or any other country across the border. What he’s saying is that he wants to protect the Russian-speaking population in those parts of Ukraine where they feel threatened by the far-right governments in Kyiv after the Maidan coup. A coup widely believed to have been orchestrated by the US.
We spoke to Ukrainians who can prove otherwise. The US may have backed the 2014 protests, but overall, reputable sources and eyewitness accounts suggest the protests arose from within – by the will of the Ukrainian people.
I wonder which Ukrainians you spoke to. I can imagine some claiming that. On the other hand, a large majority of Ukrainians in Crimea and Donbass voted in referendums to rejoin the Russian Federation.
You irritate a lot of people because it always sounds like you’re defending Putin.
Compared to Biden, so do I.
and explains why he won’t boycott Russia:
You wouldn’t boycott Russia?
I think that’s counterproductive. You live in Europe. How much does the US charge for gas deliveries? Five times as much as their own citizens pay. In England it is now “eat or heat”. Because the poorer sections of the population can hardly afford to heat their houses. Western governments should realize that we are all brothers and sisters. In World War II you saw what happens when you try to fight a war against Russia. The Russians will unite and fight to the last ruble and to the last square meter of land to defend their motherland. Just like anyone would. I think if the US could convince its own citizens and you and many other people that Russia is the real enemy and Putin is the new Hitler,
This may seem like an extreme political stance to you, but maybe the history books I read and the news I get are just different from yours. You can’t believe everything you see on TV or read in the newspapers. All I’m trying to achieve with my new music recordings, my statements and my performances is that our brothers and sisters in power end the war – and that people understand that our brothers and sisters in Russia do not live under a repressive dictatorship , just as little as you in Germany or me in the USA. I mean, would we choose to continue slaughtering young Ukrainians and Russians if we had the power to stop it?
This is not only not the reasoning he has given in the past, it emphasizes how he singles out the world’s only Jewish state for boycott, considering us worse than Russia.
This hypocrisy does not go unnoticed by the interviewer, and Waters doubles-down:
It’s very provocative to say that you would play in Moscow but not in Israel. Ethnic minorities are severely discriminated against in Russia. Among other things, more ethnic non-Russians are sent to war than ethnic Russians.
You seem to be asking me to see Russia from the current Russophobic perspective. I see it differently, although, as I said, I neither speak Russian nor live in Russia, so I’m in unfamiliar territory.
Funny how he doesn’t speak Hebrew or Arabic nor live in Israel, yet considers himself an expert on matters here.
Meanwhile, he even can see himself living in Russia (while he won’t even visit Israel):
Can you imagine living in Russia?
Yes of course, why not? It would be the same as with my neighbors here in the south of England. We could go to the pub and talk openly – as long as those Russians don’t go to war and kill Americans or Ukrainians. OK? As long as we trade with each other, sell each other gas, and make sure we’re warm in the winter, we’re fine. Russians are no different from you and me: there are good people and there are idiots – like everywhere else.
Except apparently Israel, where everyone is evil in his eyes, including peace-lovers who he has demonized and lied about.
Not that Israel aka “little Satan” is the only country he hates. Waters also detests “Big Satan” aka the USA aka the country in which he lives and enjoys all freedoms:
Then why not perform in Russia?
Not for ideological reasons. It’s just not possible at the moment. I’m not boycotting Russia, that would be ridiculous. I play 38 concerts in the USA. If I were to boycott any country for political reasons, it would be the United States. You are the main aggressor.
Naturally, he continues to deny he is antisemitic, while demonstrating how he really is.
Like when he lies that non-Jews in Israel do not have rights.
BDS positions are sanctioned by the German Bundestag. A success of the BDS movement indisputably encourages anti-Semitic currents and could ultimately mean the end of the State of Israel. Do you see it differently?
Yes, Israel could change its laws. You could say: We have changed our mind, people are allowed to have rights even if they are not Jews. That would be it then. Then we wouldn’t need BDS anymore.
As outrageous as this all is, perhaps the most outrageous statements of his were removed from the published interview. A website purporting to contain an English translation of the interview includes these few paragraphs I cannot find in the original (the other paragraphs do appear):
Isn’t it a bit easy to label these people as idiots?
Of course, they are not all idiots. But they probably read the Bible and probably believe that anyone who speaks out against Israeli fascism in the Holy Land is an anti-Semite. That’s really not a smart position to take, because to do so you have to deny that people lived in Palestine before the Israelis settled there. You have to follow the legend that says, “A land without a people for a people without a land.” What nonsense. The history here is quite clear. To this day, the indigenous, Jewish population is a minority. The Jewish Israelis all immigrated from Eastern Europe or the United States.
You once compared the state of Israel to Nazi Germany. Do you still stand by this comparison?
Yes, of course. The Israelis are committing genocide. Just like Great Britain did during our colonial period, by the way. The British committed genocide against the indigenous people of North America, for example. So did the Dutch, the Spanish, the Portuguese even the Germans in their colonies. All were part of the injustice of the colonial era. And we, the British also murdered and pillaged in India, Southeast Asia, China…. We believed ourselves to be inherently superior to the indigenous people, just as the Israelis do in Palestine. Well, we weren’t and neither are the Israeli Jews.
Are you questioning Israel’s right to exist?
In my opinion, Israel has a right to exist as long as it is a true democracy, as long as no group, religious or ethnic, enjoys more human rights than any other. But unfortunately that is exactly what is happening in Israel and Palestine. The government says that only Jewish people should enjoy certain rights. So it can’t be described as democratic. They are very open about it, it’s enshrined in Israeli law. There are now many people in Germany, and of course many Jewish people in Israel, who are open to a different narrative about Israel. Twenty years ago, we could not have had a conversation about the State of Israel in which the terms genocide and apartheid were mentioned. Now I would say you can’t have that conversation without using those terms, because they accurately describe the reality in the occupied territory. I see that more and more clearly since I’ve been part of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, ed.).
These responses paint Waters in an even more antisemitic light. Comparing Israeli Jews to the Nazis is textbook antisemitism, and claiming we all come from Europe or the US is also a favorite false claim of the Jew-haters. Waters is also basically saying Israel, in its present form, has no right to exist.
I find it hard to believe whoever translated this interview fabricated these responses. Which means Berliner-Zeitung removed them from the published interview some time between when it was first published and now. The question is why? Did Waters demand they do so?
Update: Waters clearly did not demand they remove those parts, because it turns out, he has linked to this translation of the interview, which includes them.
Funny how he links to it while tweeting:
Against the backdrop of the outrageous and despicable smear campaign by the ISRAELI LOBBY to denounce me as an ANTI-SEMITE, WHICH I AM NOT, NEVER HAVE BEEN and NEVER WILL BE.
His reference to the Israeli lobby is itself an antisemitic trope!