The National Jewish Assembly (NJA), along with Friends of Israel organisations (West Midlands Friends of Israel, North West Friends of Israel, North London Friends of Israel and Glasgow Friends of Israel), are calling on the UK government to condemn Roger Waters for his highly offensive and antisemitic performances, which he will bring to various locations in the UK during his upcoming music tour in the UK. The NJA and its campaign partners are deeply concerned about Waters’ well-documented history of antisemitism and his recent stunts that distort Holocaust memory and are actively contacting the venue organisers and relevant government representatives to express its opposition to Waters’ conduct.
Roger Waters has repeatedly expressed prejudiced and offensive views targeting the Jewish people and Israel, the Jewish state. It is deeply troubling that only a few days ago, at his concert in Berlin, Waters dressed like a Nazi SS officer and used visuals that equated the death of a journalist, who was accidentally killed during crossfire in a combat zone in the West Bank, with a victim of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, who was hunted down and sent to a death camp simply because she was Jewish. These actions demonstrate a profound lack of respect and sensitivity towards the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust and are an affront to survivors and their descendants.
Moreover, Waters has openly aligned himself with the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has been widely condemned for promoting discriminatory practices and seeking to isolate and delegitimise the State of Israel. His use of visual representations, such as pigs with the Star of David further perpetuates harmful stereotypes and fuels hatred and division.
These actions and statements by Waters are in clear violation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which the United Kingdom adopted in 2016. As a direct violation of the IHRA definition. equating Israel to Nazi Germany and alleging that Israel is a racist, colonial state serves only to perpetuate antisemitic tropes and contribute to an atmosphere of hostility towards Jewish people in Israel and abroad.
Furthermore, Waters’ vocal support for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine raises serious concerns about his alignment with authoritarian regimes and his disregard for the principles of democracy and human rights. It is deeply troubling to consider hosting an artist who actively supports actions that undermine international peace and stability, both in Israel and Ukraine.
By allowing Waters to perform at their venues, the owners inadvertently provide him with a platform to disseminate his highly offensive and libellous rhetoric. This not only undermines the values of inclusivity and tolerance that our community strives to uphold, but also exposes our local government to reputational risks associated with providing a platform to individuals known for promoting hate and antisemitism.
The NJA and its campaign partners understand and respect the importance of artistic freedom and the need to foster a diverse cultural scene. However, there must be a line drawn when an artist’s views and actions cross into hate speech, promoting discriminatory ideologies, and distorting historical facts. Hosting Waters sends a harmful and hostile message to the Jewish community, as well as all those who stand against antisemitism, human rights abuses, and aggression against sovereign nations.
Therefore, the NJA and its campaign partners urge the UK government to condemn Waters’ offensive conduct and take a public stance that you do not condone or welcome people like Waters, who harbour hate and aims to offend.
For further inquiries, please contact Heath Sloane – NJA Press and Marketing Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)