AN OPEN LETTER FROM ROGER WATERS

August 17, 2013 – 5:05 am


Unhappy fan Alon Onfus Asif complained about the Star of David being painted on the iconic Flying Pig at a recent The Wall concert in Belgium which resulted in an attack by Rabbi Abraham Cooper on the ex-Pink Floyd man. This drew a response from Roger Waters.

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Click here to download Roger Waters live in Copenhagen 2013.

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There has been some comment on the Internet about the Wall Show in Belgium to which I feel I should respond.

One Alon Onfus Asif, an Israeli living in Belgium, came to The Wall show in Belgium last week and being an observant sort of chap Alon noticed a Star of David on the Pig that is destroyed by the audience at the end of the show. Then Alon dutifully videoed our Pig on his phone, posted this video, and alerted Israeli Daily, Yediot Ahronot. This story was duly picked up by the ever watchful Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the entirely predictable resulting rant is attached here.

Often I can ignore these attacks but Rabbi Cooper’s accusations are so wild and bigoted they demand a response.

Dear Rabbi Cooper,

I hold your outburst to be inflammatory and un-helpful and would suggest it can only impede progress towards peace and understanding between people. It is also extremely insulting to me personally in that you accuse me of being ‘Anti Semitic’, ‘A Jew Hater’ and ‘Nazi Sympathizer’.

I have three specific points to make:

1) Your use of the adjective “ANTI-SEMITIC”.

First I direct you to an announcement by ‘The Anti Defamation League’, an American organization, whose declared aim is to defend Jewish people and Judaism from attack. They recently said:

“While we wish that Mr. Waters would have avoided using the Star of David, we believe there is no anti-Semitic intent here.”

I should point out that in the show, I also use the Crucifix, the Crescent and Star, the Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil Logo and The McDonald’s Sign, a Dollar Sign and a Mercedes sign.

2) JEW-HATING? I have many very close Jewish friends, one of whom, interestingly enough, is the nephew of the late Simon Wiesenthal. I am proud of that association; Simon Wiesenthal was a great man. Also I have two grandsons who, I love more than life itself, their Mother, my daughter-in-law, is Jewish and so, in consequence, I’m told, are they.

3) NAZI? Not only did my father, 2nd Lieutenant Eric Fletcher Waters, die in Italy on February 18th 1944 fighting the Nazis, but I was brought up in post-war England where I received the most thorough education on the subject of Nazism and where I was spared no horrific detail of the heinous crimes committed in the name of that most foul ideology. I remember my mother’s friends, Claudette and Maria, I remember their tattoos, they where survivors, two of the lucky ones.

My Mother spent the whole of the rest of her life, involved politically to make sure the future for her children and grandchildren, in fact for everyone’s children and grandchildren, black, white, Gentile, Jew, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, et al, had no Sword of Damocles in the form of the despised Nazi Creed hanging over their heads.

I for my part, as best I can, have continued along my parent’s path. At the age of nearly 70, in the spirit of my Father and Mother and all they did, I have stood my ground, as best I can, in defense of Mistress Liberty.

The Wall Show, so lamely attacked by you, is many things. It is thoughtful, life affirming, ecumenical, humane, loving, anti war, anti colonial, pro universal access to the law, pro liberty, pro collaboration, pro dialogue, pro peace, anti authoritarian, anti fascist, anti apartheid, anti dogma, international in spirit, musical and satirical.

It is not.

ANTI-SEMITIC or PRO NAZI

I have often come under attack by the pro Israel lobby because of my support for BDS, (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) which I won’t go into here, anyone interested can access a speech I made at The United Nations on the 29th November last year.

However I will say this, in a functioning theocracy it is almost inevitable that the symbol of the religion becomes confused with the symbol of the state, in this case the State of Israel, a state that operates Apartheid both within its own borders and also in the territories it has occupied and colonized since 1967.

Like it or not, the Star of David represents Israel and its policies and is legitimately subject to any and all forms of non violent protest. To peacefully protest against Israel’s racist domestic and foreign policies is NOT ANTI-SEMITIC. Your contention that because I criticize the Policies of the Israeli government I should be lumped in with the Muslim Brotherhood is risible, and again a personal affront. I have spent my whole adult life advocating separation of church and state.

At every Wall Show I invite 20 vets from whatever country we are in backstage at half time to meet, exchange handshakes and good wishes and mementos. At one show, a year or so ago, an older vet, Vietnam era, at a guess, blocked my exit, he put out his hand which I took, he did not let go, he looked me in the eyes and he said ” Your Father would be proud of you.”

Tears burn my eyes.

The Wall is reaching out to you and all the other Rabbi Cooper’s out there.

Come to the show!

Love

Roger

P.S. For the sake of some perspective. The inflatable pig that so offended young Alon has appeared at every Wall Show since September 2010, some 193 shows, yours is the first complaint. Also the pig in question represents evil and, more specifically, the evil of errant government. We make a gift of this symbol of repression to the audience at the end of every show and the people always do the right thing. They destroy it.

Note: The above was posted at Roger Waters’ Facebook page.

Click here to download Roger Waters live in Copenhagen 2013.

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  1. 8 Responses to “AN OPEN LETTER FROM ROGER WATERS”

  2. Europeans don’t seem to have a very good record of respecting those of the Jewish faith but at least their justifications of today are a bit more sophisticated than in times past.

    Play music, for all of us, leave the politics and religious intolerance out of the concerts. Music should be a force to bring people of different backgrounds, political views, races, and religions together to share in the fun and joy. Not being a source of division and political propaganda.

    By Jack on Aug 17, 2013

  3. The Wall has, from day 1, so many years ago, ALWAYS carried the same message.

    Music and drama have contained both social and political commentary for centuries (if not longer). Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Mozart, Shakespeare.. the list is endless.

    By NAMoosedog on Aug 17, 2013

  4. Who knows what the Palestinians would have to say about it …

    By ruudcash on Aug 17, 2013

  5. A question for both sides in this and all other conflicts: Would you trade all your deeply held beliefs and predjucies for world peace? Just curious.

    By Jim Kneubuhl on Aug 19, 2013

  6. If Roger Waters decides to protest against Syria for using gas agaisnt its population, would he put the Star and Crescent or the name of Allah on a pig?
    Roger Waters will not protest agaist Syria and neither against Sudan (Genocide of half million of dharfur people).
    His anger is against the Jewish people.

    By eliezer on Aug 25, 2013

  7. Well said Roger. You have every right to voice whatever you feel, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to come to your show.

    By Big Dave on Aug 26, 2013

  8. Big Dave

    Would you agree if Roger was protesting against rocket attacks against Israelis civilians?

    Why only the Star of David/ Why not also the Star and Crescent and the Christian Cross?

    Why not the also include the hammer and sickle? The Stars and Stripes? The Union Jack? The Russian Flag?

    Water’s seems very selective in picking this one symbol he wants to be destroyed.

    Far more people have been killed in the war in the Congo in one year than have been hurt in Israeli attacks (defensive or aggressive, take you side of the argument) against anyone in Palestine over decades.

    Why not protest against the killings in the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, or other places where the violence is far worse?

    People have differing political view, fine, differences are fine. Rodger Waters is anti-Israel and from his choice of symbol to destroy, pretty obviously anti-Jewish (I am neither Jewish nor living in Israel by the way) and he has every right to his prejudices.
    But if Rodger Waters wants to expose his fans to his hatred of the Jewish people he should market his work as political propaganda and not as a concert.

    Rodger, grow a pair and advertise your work for what it is, personally I am not a big fan of his music, but if I did go to see him perform, I wouldn’t want the entire evening ruined by his display of his hatred of a single ethnic group.

    I might go to a concert to have fun, I can enjoy the work of artists who have different political views than I do, but I would have no desire to attend an anti-Jewish rally.

    By Jack on Aug 28, 2013

  9. Is anybody else tired of seeing people unfairly demonized? I am. Accusations of this nature should have actual proof. Not some accusation based on interpretation. People who still engage in it without proof should be subject to libel/slander litigation. People are way to comfortable hurling serious accusations because they aren’t held accountable

    By People are pathetic on Sep 4, 2014

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