David I. Klein
Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd bassist who is a leading proponent of the movement to boycott Israel, has been blocked from performing in Frankfurt after the city called him “one of the world’s most well known antisemites.”
Waters had been scheduled to perform May 28 at Frankfurt’s Festhalle, which during the Holocaust was the site of the deportation of 3,000 Jews to their deaths just after Kristallnacht.
The city of Frankfurt noted the historical significance of the concert hall, which it partly owns, in announcing that it was canceling Waters’ planned concert. It cited Waters’ longstanding anti-Israel activism.
“The background to the cancellation is the persistent anti-Israel behavior of the former Pink Floyd frontman, who is considered one of the most widely spread antisemites in the world,” the city said in a statement. “He 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.”
Waters’ full-throated anti-Israel activism has frequently been accused of veering into antisemitism. In addition to backing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Waters’ has flown a pig-shaped balloon bearing a Star of David at his concerts, spoken about the alleged power of a nefarious Jewish lobby in the United States and compared Israeli actions in the West Bank to South Africa under apartheid and Nazi Germany. When a British lawmaker was expelled from the Labour Party during its antisemitism scandal, Waters tweeted, “Wish I was a Labour party member so I could be expelled in solidarity.”
Jewish groups in Germany responded positively to the announcement of the canceled concert. “Antisemitism in art and culture must not be tolerated,” said Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. “I applaud this decision.”
Waters’ tour includes dozens of other dates across Europe, including several within Germany.