ADVERTISEMENT

Roger Waters wins legal battle to play Frankfurt concert following antisemitism claims

Roger Waters wins right to play in Germany following antisemitism accusations - here pictured at the Venice Film Festival 2019
Roger Waters wins right to play in Germany following antisemitism accusations - here pictured at the Venice Film Festival 2019 Copyright Vittorio Zunino Celotto/GI
Copyright Vittorio Zunino Celotto/GI
By David Mouriquand
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

An administrative court in the German city of Frankfurt has ruled that Roger Waters can play a forthcoming concert in the city after it was initially cancelled over claims of antisemitism.

ADVERTISEMENT

An administrative court in the German city of Frankfurt has ruled that Roger Waters can play a forthcoming concert in the city after it was initially cancelled over claims of antisemitism.

The former Pink Floyd frontman was supposed to play at Festhalle on 28 May, but Frankfurt City Council called off the performance over the musician’s views on Israel.

They mentioned his “persistent anti-Israel behaviour” and described him as “one of the world’s most widely-known antisemites”.

Frankfurt officials objected to the concert because Waters supports the British branch of the Artists for Palestine organization and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights and statehood – a movement asking musicians to cancel concerts in Israel as part of a broader boycott aimed at putting pressure on the Israeli government to end illegal settlements. The German officials also flagged up some of the musician’s past shows, which had incorporated a pig-shaped balloon that was adorned with the Star of David and various corporate logos.

The Festhalle venue has also been a point of contention for Frankfurt officials, as it was a site where more than 3,000 Jewish men were rounded up during the pogroms of November 1938 and later deported to concentration camps.

Twitter
Image of the pig balloon used during Roger Waters' concertsTwitter

The court ruled in Waters’ favour because even if his concerts feature “symbolism manifestly based on that of the National Socialist regime,” the performances can be “viewed as a work of art.” The court also reportedly determined that Waters “did not glorify or relativize the crimes of the Nazis or identify with Nazi racist ideology.”

Waters has repeatedly denied accusations of antisemitism and claimed his disdain is towards Israel, not Judaism, accusing Israel of “abusing the term antisemitism to intimidate people like me into silence”.

He previously defended his use of the pig symbol, saying it “represents Israel and its policies and is legitimately subject to any and all forms of non-violent protest”.

Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP
Roger Waters has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of PalestiniansRob Grabowski/Invision/AP

A petition was launched last month to reverse the decision made by Frankfurt City Council, which was signed by the likes of Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello and Pink Floyd’s own Nick Mason.

“Waters’ criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is part of his long-term advocacy on behalf of human rights across the globe,” read the description alongside the petition. “The officials vilifying Waters are engaging in a dangerous campaign that purposely conflates criticism of Israel’s illegal and unjust policies with antisemitism.”

“Officials in Germany, concert organisers, 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,” continued the petition.

Waters is also scheduled to perform in the German cities of Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin, and Munich next month.

Additional sources • Pitchfork

Share this articleComments

You might also like