Petition Launched Asking German Authorities to Allow Roger Waters to Perform
Last month, Frankfurt’s City Council and the Hessian State government announced the cancellation of a concert Waters scheduled to be performed there in May, over his rank antisemitism, calling him “one of the most widely spread anti-Semites in the world.”
Now rabid Israel-hater Katie Halper – fired from The Hill for calling Israel an “apartheid state” – has launched a petition calling on “those who have canceled Waters’ concerts to reverse their decisions.”
We artists, musicians, writers, and other public figures and organizations are deeply disturbed by the recent efforts by German officials to discredit and silence musician Roger Waters. On February 24, 2023, Frankfurt’s City Council and the Hessian State government announced the cancellation of a concert Waters scheduled to be performed on May 28 at the Festhalle. The Frankfurt City Council says that they canceled Waters’ concert “set a clear signal against anti-Semitism,” describing the musician as “one of the most widely spread anti-Semites in the world.” As evidence, the Council says that Waters “repeatedly called for a cultural boycott of Israel and drew comparisons to the apartheid regime in South Africa and put pressure on artists to cancel events in Israel.”
There is no other evidence other than these two claims: that Waters has supported the Palestinian-led cultural boycott of Israel campaign and that he has compared contemporary Israel’s government to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Neither of these claims is unique to Waters or outside the boundaries of mainstream public opinion. Human Rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Israel’s B’Tselem, United Nations agencies, and South African officials have defined Israel as an apartheid state, and therefore, many of these organizations and individuals have made the comparison between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa.
The extremists are the Israeli Government, not its critics. Recently, Israeli citizens have been pouring into the streets to protest their government’s violent treatment of Palestinians and sweeping anti-democratic judicial changes.
Waters’ criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is part of his long-term advocacy on behalf of human rights across the globe. Waters believes “that all our brothers and sisters, all over the world irrespective of the color of their skin or the depth of their pockets deserve equal human rights under the law.” With regard to Israel and Palestine, he says, “My platform is simple: it is implementation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all our brothers and sisters between the Jordan River and the sea. Antisemitism is odious and racist and I condemn it, along with all forms of racism, unreservedly.”
The officials vilifying Waters are engaging in a dangerous campaign that purposely conflates criticism of Israel’s illegal and unjust policies with antisemitism. This conflation perpetuates the antisemitic trope which presents Jews as a monolith who blindly support Israel. Some of Israel’s loudest critics are Jews. But those who weaponize antisemitism are fine contributing to it.
Officials in Germany, concert organizers, and music platforms must not succumb to the pressure of those individuals and groups who would rather see Waters’ music removed than engage with the issues his music highlights. We call on those who have canceled Waters’ concerts to reverse their decisions and consider their own history of antisemitism, racism and genocide and how instances of these can be stopped today in other parts of the world, including in Occupied Palestine.
Brian Eno, Musician
Peter Gabriel, Musician
Anwar Hadid, Musician
Tom Morello, Musician
Noam Chomsky, Laureate Professor of Linguistics, University of Arizona
Cornel West, Professor, Philosopher, Author, Activist
Susan Sarandon, Actor
Ken Loach, Film Director
Nick Mason, Drummer
Eric Clapton, Musician
Gabor Maté, Physician and Author
Immortal Technique, Artist and Producer
Low Key, Rapper and Activist
Andrew Feinstein, Author and Former ANC Member of Parliament
Julian Schnabel, Artist and film maker
Robert Wyatt, Musician
Dread Scott, Artist
Emily Jacir, Artist
Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Professor of Modern Culture & Media and Comparative Literature, Brown University
Ilan Pappé, Historian
Julie Christie, actor
Michael Malarkey, Musician
Terry Gilliam, Film Director and Actor
Norman Finkelstein, Writer, Professor
John Pilger, Journalist
Sophie Calle, Artist
Artists for Palestine, UK
Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers
Beth Miller, Jewish Voice for Peace Political Director
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Yanis Varoufakis, Author
Noura Erakat, Human rights attorney and author
Susan Abulhawa, Author Mornings In Jenin
Miko Peled, Author and Activist
David Cross, Comedian, Actor, Writer, Director
Ramin Bahrani, Film director
Alia Shawkat, Actor
Sara Driver, Film director
Caryl Churchill, Playwright
Lady Bunny, Performer
Alexei Sayle, Actor, Author, Comedian
Adam Broomberg, Artist, Educator and Activist
John Smith, Artist Filmmaker, Emeritus Professor of Fine Art, University of East London
Rosalind Nashashibi, Artist
Glenn Greenwald, Journalist
Chris Hedges, Journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner
Katie Halper, Journalist
Vijay Prashad, Journalist
Abby Martin, journalist and Filmmaker
Mike Prysner. Journalist and Filmmaker
Mohamed Hadid, Developer
Robert Scheer, Journalist, Professor USC Annenberg
Krystal Ball, Journalist
Eugene Puryear, Journalist
Rania Khlek, Journalist
Ros Petchesky, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Political Science, Hunter College & the Graduate Center-CUNY, Jewish Voice For Peace
Gerald Horne, Historian, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston
Steven Donziger, Human Rights Attorney
Adolph Reed, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Greg Grandin, Professor of History, Yale University
Daniel Bessner, Historian
Frank Barat, Film Producer
Tami Gold, Filmmaker, Professor of Film & Media Studies at Hunter College
Omar Al-Qattan, Film producer and Cultural Activist
Josh Olson, Screenwriter
Zeina Durra, Film Director
Vin Arfuso, Producer, Filmmaker
Karen Zelermyer, I Was Never There podcast
Christian Parenti, Professor of political economy John Jay, CUNY
Marcie Smith Parenti Writer and Attorney
Noah Kulwin, Writer
Nora Eisenberg, Novelist, Journalist
Dave Anthony, Writer
Freddie DeBoer, Writer
Robin D.G. Kelly, Writer, Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA.
Greg Goldberg, Chair, Sociology Department, Wesleyan University
Felix Hoffmann, Arthistorian and Artistic Director Foto Arsenal Wien
Barbara Smith, Writer and Activist
Doug Henwood Journalist/Radio Host
Liza Featherstone, Journalist
Margaret Kimberley, Editor, Black Agenda Report
Nora Barrows-Friedman, journalist
Yasha Levine, Journalist
Mark Ames, Journalist
Adam Horowitz, Journalist Mondoweiss
Phil Weiss, Writer
Michael Mack, Publisher
Max Blumenthal, Journalist, The Grayzone
Stefania Maurizi, Investigative Journalist
Norman Solomon, Journalist
Branko Marcetic, Journalist, Jacobin
Alfreda Benge, Artist
Bill Morrison, Artist and Film Director
Alessandra Sanguinetti, Photographer
Robin Rhode, Artist
Jim Goldberg, Artist/ Professor Emeritus California College of the Arts
Alec Soth, Photographer
Jewish Voice For Peace
Nina Felshin, Art Curator, Writer
Tai Shani, Artist
A number of things strike me about the petition.
Firstly, the petition itself reeks of antisemitism. It seems to compare what is happening in Israel to what happened in the Holocaust, insomuch as it asks the German authorities to “consider their own history of antisemitism, racism and genocide and how instances of these can be stopped today in other parts of the world, including in Occupied Palestine.”
Also, if you look at the high profile names backing it, you will notice they are, for the most part, the usual suspects of Israel-haters and rabid antisemites. These include rabid Jew-haters like Susan Abulhawa, Ken Loach, and Mohamed Hadid. Having them support you is hardly helping Waters’ cause in convincing people he is not also a Jew-hater.
I do have to point out how disappointing it is to see the names of Eric Clapton and Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam there. I had no idea they were morally compromised.
Meanwhile, Waters is reportedly going to sue over the concert bans.
Musician and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters is taking legal action against planned bans on his concerts in the German cities of Frankfurt and Munich.
Waters believes “this blatant attempt to silence him could have serious and far-reaching consequences for artists and activists around the world if left unchallenged,” the artist’s management in London said Tuesday night.
The cancellation of the concerts was “unconstitutional” and “unjustified,” the management defended. They were based “on the false accusation that Roger Waters is anti-Semitic, which he is not,” it added.
The musician has “instructed his lawyers to immediately take all necessary steps to reverse this unjustified decision and ensure that his fundamental human right to freedom of expression is protected,” the statement continued.
Bans don’t feel so good do they, Roger?
Meanwhile, I would love to see him argue he is not a Jew-hater. If I had a dollar for every “receipt” I have showing he is indeed one, I would be almost as rich as he is.