Roger Waters Shuns Star of David Controversy: 'It's Not Anti-Semitic'

"To peacefully protest against Israels racist domestic and foreign policies is not anti-semitic," stresses Pink Floyd co-founder.

Ultimate Guitar

As recent controversy revolving around the use of Star of David at his shows stirred up a massive public debate, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters felt somewhat of an obligation to publicly address the matter and clear the air.

It was previously reported that Waters' decision to place the symbol of Judaism on the bloating pig at his concerts caused an outrage from the Jewish human rights group, specifically its Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper. The bassist now addressed Cooper personally, giving him a thorough explanation via official Facebook page.

"Often I can ignore these attacks but Rabbi Cooper's accusations, are so wild and bigoted they demand a response," Waters started.

After singling out three points - use of the word "anti-semitic," jew-hating accusations and nazi links as the most problematic ones, Waters went on to explain "The Wall Show" further.

"'The Wall Show,' so lamely attacked by you, is many things," he said. "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."

Waters continued, "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."

The bassist finally concluded, saying, "The Wall is reaching out to you and all the other Rabbi Coopers out there. Come to the show!"

49 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It has become a very unfortunate where any criticism of Israel is considered a commentary on Jews as a whole. Even more than that, any attempt to humanize the Palestinians and their conditions is considered "supporting the terrorists." The band Marillion took some heat for a song called "Gaza" on their latest album that did just that. In my mind, the fact that we have let the Palestinians suffer as they have is one of our greatest failings as a society. It is important that we remember that the state of Israel and all Jews of the world are not the same thing. Similarly, terrorists and Palestinians (or Muslims) are not the same thing, either. It sounds like the Simon Wiesenthal Center would rather you believe that Israel is the same as the Jewish faith and Palestinians are all terrorists. I'm glad to see Roger Waters is willing to stand up against that.
    A true anti-Semite hates all the races that fall under the Semite ethnic group, Assyrian, Arabic, Hebrew, etc. The Allies made the dumbest mistake putting the land of the jews right in the middle of ****ed up alley. Besides, Palestinia is only a religious land, and losing that tiny portion isn't going to compromise jack shit. That being said, we should evacuate everyone from Israel before this shitstorm occurs, so there are very few lives lost, and take Israels nuke's with us so they don't fall into the wrong hands.
    It's the same with every kind person who has lost/sacrificed his/her faculties to religion. I'm not talking about religious people, who keep to themselves and their faith, confident that no word or idea will hurt their god or their prophet, which is the truth. I'm talking about people "selling" religion, who claim a scientific theory can hurt a deity, or a cartoon a prophet, or a symbol depicted on a pig a whole religion and its believers. The belief in God, in all its forms, boils down to "God (in one form/name or another) is eternal and occurs outside physics". Nothing one does can hurt that. So, stop lying in its name and pushing your own grievances upon us.
    Just as I thought, butthurt zionists trying to strawman anti-zionism into anti-semitism and kick up the big bad racisty boogey monster. That trick isn't going to work for very much longer, Religion....
    That's what zionists always do. If you criticise them, they call you a nazi or anti semite. People are wising up to that tactic, those words are fortunately losing their power.
    Psycho Pigeon
    Israel has nukes and follows a doctrine that if they're ever backed into a corner they'll take us all down with them. The regime there is fanatical, like most religious states.
    Israel touts itself as a Democratic, multicultural State, so by its own definition, it is impossible to criticize Israel proper and be considered antisemitic. Unless it's just not true.
    Well that's an unfortunate picture to accompany the Rabbi's allegations...
    I wouldn't say unfortunate as much as fitting. . . As a Jewish fan I've been uncomfortable with Waters for a while now. Wearing an arm band like that is not edgy or artsy. Its so unbelievably disrespectful to the millions of people who lost their lives during that time. Waters is a smart man and should know better. I don't mind his ideology, I disagree with Israel most of the time too. What worries me is the fact that less intelligent fans of his may see the Star of David on the pig and see their hero Roger wearing the arm band and walk away with the wrong impression. Thats the bigger issue here
    Carl Hungus
    The armband is a direct response not only to the Nazi regime but fascism all over the world. Its not an adoption of stereotypical racist beliefs but actually a criticism. Have you seen the movie "The Wall"?
    The "Worms" wore the armbands in the film The Wall. They are the "Bad guys". Read the lyrics. There are free sites online where you can find them. Then see how inaccurate your comment is.
    'Less intelligent fans'. You walked away with the same dumb ass conclusion, and if that wasn't bad enough, you have the arrogance to suggest that not only is the way you see it the way it actually is, but that you're more intelligent and perceptive than others for it.
    that's why roger waters should have won the balsiest rock star UG award and not dee snider or whoever won it
    Maybe we CAN solved the 6000 year old Arab/Israelite dispute on a site that we surf to learn guitar riffs Waters sure has some balls! I must say. It is rare to see celebs making a stand against anything Jewish. I am not saying I agree, but it seems like you can attack any other religion without causing a stink. I will say that I have listened to The Wall, and watched the movie thousands of times. It is VERY anti-Nazi and anti_Fascist. In no way is Waters advocating hurting anybody in The Wall's messages.
    It's a brave musician that speaks up against Israel's foreign and domestic policy. Much respect to Waters.
    Fuck Roger Waters, he doesn't have a clue about the situation in Israel
    Whether you choose to accept what he has to say or not does not make his protest the least bit invalid. Everyone is afraid to say that Israel is wrong because the media immediately portrays them as anti-semites. I for one applaud his candidness, and accuracy for that matter, on the matter at hand. As for your blatant misunderstanding; I suppose you are entitled to be swallow the lies and propaganda put forth by the American (or americanized) media. Remember, right or wrong we "always" should support our allies.(thats sarcasm just in case you didn't catch that)
    I'm from Israel, so I know more than you about the whole thing with Roger Waters. If he doesn't agree with the israeli government it's okay, allot of us don't either. But what Roger is doing is boycotting Israel, he is asking artists to cancel shows in Israel (Though he did a huge show in Israel in 2006), the only thing he does is to cause damage to people that have nothing to do with the things he protest against.
    Being from the region I don't doubt you understand the emotional side of the conflict a lot better than the rest of us. But it doesn't make you an expert and it certainly doesn't mean that everybody from outside your country doesn't know what he/she's talking about Quite the contrary: it's usually the people who aren't stuck in the whole "us vs them" mentality (nearly a Floyd quote there, lol) whose opinion I respect the most. Roger Waters doesn't follow any religious agenda which is something you can't say about that conservative rabbi. To react the way that guy does isn't really helping the Israeli cause either, it only provokes irritation because how can you have an honest debate with someone who calls you a nazi??
    Excellent point, considering also that Waters' dad died FIGHTING the Nazis in WW2, I'd say Waters shows great emotional restraint at the ol' slap-them-with-a-swastika-so-nobody-listens-to-them shtick by this Rabbi. That's one thing that really infuriates me with these politics, the Allies fought and died destroying the ultimate anti-semites, but that doesn't seem to mean shit to the Jewish community
    Well, boycott is a form of protest against the government, isn't it? And if you don't like it, you can vote for different people next time (from what I know, Israel is democratic country).
    "I'm from Israel, so I know more than you about the whole thing with Roger Waters." That's like me saying "I'm from Indiana, so I know more than you about the whole basketball thing than Michael Jordan".
    Hey KBI2113, could you please explain your comment to me? I don't see how being from Indiana, which really isn't inherently linked to basketball in any way and would therefore not give you any specific knowledge of basketball, qualifying somebody to know more than somebody who is clearly an expert because they played basketball for a living (quite successfully of course) is the same as somebody being from Israel, which is inherently linked to Israel (simple A=A really) and therefore would mean you likely would know something about Israeli politics and would therefore would be reasonable for that person to know more about Israeli politics than a foreigner who does not have any reason to be expected to be an expert on Israeli politics. You are basically saying that Roger Waters knows as much about Israel as Michael Jordan knows about basketball, and I really can't see how you could possibly come to that conclusion. I'm not saying that I feel strongly about the issue or that Israeli user's comments one way or the other, but your analogy is really sketchy.
    So first you say he doesn't have a clue about Israel, then you say his views are legitimate, but he can't act on them?
    Well you people from Israel seem to forget that the rest of the world is watching them, and Rodger Waters is spot on. Not all people get there news from Liberal news outlets who are Israeli sympathizers.
    its funny that you all basically said 'we know more about the country youre in right now than you do'. does no one else think this is so arrogant?
    The truth is that the differences between being"Anti-Israel" and anti-Simetic are hard to differentiate if you are not Jewish/Israeli. Roger Waters is notorious for being anti-Israel, which is fine; everyone is allowed to express their opinions and dissatisfaction with any government. However, having something like the Star of David-an explicit symbol of Jews everywhere, not just Israel-negatively portrayed in a concert is devastating becasue most people view it as anti-Simetic. I dont know if Waters knows much about Israel and the on-going conflict with the Palestinians. Being Jewish, I understand one can be anti-Israel and not ant-Simetic. However, with Roger's knowledge of the complex situation unknown, and the general public's knowledge of the situation unknown, it is certainly possible to link Waters' anti-Israel actions as anti-Semitic.
    I would encourage reading his entire statement as well as the United Nations speech he mentions in the aforementioned speech. It certainly seems to me that he has head on pretty straight about his political stance.
    Roger lays the smack down. Sorry Jews, but disagreeing with your government and its foreign policy is not anti-semetic in the hate speech way.
    There's a kind of person who has no problem admitting that context or intent has no bearing in their perception of things they're offended by. This kind of person wants to shout over you, label you a 'racist' or a 'bigot' or some other blanket term that immediately disqualifies you from having an opinion, but the reality is their actions and views are far more close minded. Case in point, just because you're offended by Roger Waters' actions, or because you take any criticism against the state of Israel as a person attack against Jews everywhere, doesn't mean you're right. You're not even in the same ballpark, let alone reality.
    The symbol has nothing to do with Judaism, it is the Rothschild family crest...originally in red, it is the "red shield" for which the family is named. The same family that basically runs Israel. Roger is my new hero!
    He's a musician. Who the hell really cares WHAT he thinks. I love his music. Only reason I would go, or not go to any show is based on that. I listen to music, not an artists political views, I have no idea if any of them know what they are talking about AND I don't care. They're musicians.
    If you want to be closed-minded to others' views, that's your decision. I care what he thinks because I believe he DOES know what he is talking about. He's been politically active for decades.
    It's almost as if some of the music he's written is based around an entire concept, but nah, that can't be it.
    So if somebody is a musician, their opinion is instantly void? YOU don't care about the political side. Lot's of people do. Just because for god knows what reason you're irritated by the fact some musicians talk politics doesn't mean they should stop when plenty of people enjoy hearing what they have to say. Funny, I thought the entire point of writing lyrics was to send a message. Guess I was wrong.
    [My Opinion on this matter comes from listening to 'holy wars' by Megadeth] ...somehow manages to become top rated comment.