Roger Waters Takes Berlin… With His Usual Antisemitism and Nastiness
Last week, Nicholas Potter of Belltower.News attended one of Roger Waters’ Berlin concerts and what he saw disturbed him: Hatred of Israel, conspiracy rumors and structural anti-Semitism.
You know, exactly what we’ve come to expect from Waters.
There are no counter-protests on site on Wednesday, but a small anti-Zionist welcoming committee: BDS supporters are standing on the square in front of the arena with banners and handing out flyers.
The Jewish “Values Initiative” wants to protest against Waters with a flyer campaign , but the following day, after being asked to do so by the Mercedes-Benz Arena, the police send them off. It remains unclear why this did not also apply to BDS.
Above all, it is an evening with a clear world view. There is “us”, “the good guys” – and the bad guys who need to be fought. “They’re evil” flickers on the LED screen across the crucifix-shaped stage in the middle of the arena, while Waters’ “Reworking” of the Pink Floyd hit “Us and Them” sounds. The ominous enemy remains mostly nameless. In doing so, Waters uses thought patterns that are structurally anti-Semitic: “They must think we’re fucking stupid!” says a comic-style speech bubble. “Who do you mean by them?” – “Them, up there in the penthouse, the fucking oligarchs” – “Ah, you mean…” – “THE POWERS THAT BE.” An ominous, overpowering elite that is not explicitly named – this is an anti-Semitic blueprint on which many conspiracy narratives work.
Waters creates a conspiratorial void that functions as a dogwhistle, an anti-Semitic allusion. The next speech bubble asks why “they” are so brutal? Answer: Because “they” want to destroy our resistance and continue to rule the world. It’s about a powerful enemy who acts in the dark, pulls the strings behind the scenes and threatens his own existence. Against “those up there”. They are enemies who are repeatedly portrayed as dehumanized figures throughout the evening. A highly dangerous story that has culminated in violence against Jews for centuries.
Roger Waters wants to commemorate the victims of this supposed world conspiracy in giant letters. “Shireen Abu Akleh” reads the LED screen, the name of the Al Jazeera journalist killed by an IDF soldier during a terrorist raid on the West Bank. Her “crime” according to Waters: “Being Palestinian”, her punishment: “death”. But Anne Frank’s name is also displayed, her crime: “Being Jewish”. There are also George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other victims of racist and anti-feminist police violence. For Waters, everything seems to be the same, whether Shoah or Israel.
I would just add that comparing Shireen Abu Akleh to Anne Frank goes beyond offensive and into actual antisemitism territory.
Before the song “The Bar,” Waters explains that tonight he’s “at the bar”—a physical and metaphorical place at once. There are shot glasses and a bottle of hard liquor on the piano, and later he and his band toast them. But the bar is also a place “where they won’t throw us in prison if we have an opinion that differs from the orthodox…view”. A strange pause in speaking. Waters turns the largest stage in the capital with an audience of tens of thousands into a conspiratorial place where things can finally be said that are otherwise supposedly not allowed – without being arrested.
BDS, the anti-Israel boycott movement , which Waters usually talks about a lot, doesn’t say a word today. Also between the songs Waters does not mention Israel once. why? His ideological world view is not only an integral part of his show, it is his show. He just hints: “I wanted to talk to you about different things because we’re in Germany, so there’s a lot to say, but maybe we’ll do that later.”
Given hate speech is a crime in Germany, I surmise Waters understands his lies against the Jewish state and all of his antisemitic dog whistles could be seen to cross the line.
Meanwhile, I went over footage from the concert so you can see some of what Nicholas Potter was talking about.