update deskAntisemitism

US calls Roger Waters Berlin show antisemitic

His performance “contained imagery that is deeply offensive to Jewish people and minimized the Holocaust,” said the U.S. State Department.

Roger Waters wears a Nazi-style uniform during a concert in Berlin on May 17, 2023. Source: Twitter.
Roger Waters wears a Nazi-style uniform during a concert in Berlin on May 17, 2023. Source: Twitter.

The United States has condemned as antisemitic a recent concert in Berlin by Pink Floyd musician and co-founder Roger Waters.

The May 17 performance “contained imagery that is deeply offensive to Jewish people and minimized the Holocaust,” the U.S. State Department said. “The artist in question has a long track record of using antisemitic tropes to denigrate Jewish people.”

German police opened a criminal investigation into the show at Mercedes-Benz Arena after the anti-Israel activist dressed up in a costume resembling that of an SS soldier and pretended to fire a rifle. Waters also compared the murder of Anne Frank in the Holocaust to the accidental killing in Jenin in May 2022 of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

“The State Security Department at the Berlin State Criminal Police Office has initiated a criminal investigation procedure regarding the suspicion of incitement of the people,” said Berlin police chief inspector Martin Halweg.

Waters’s next concert in Frankfurt on May 28 was disrupted by pro-Israel demonstrators, including one who tried to rush the stage carrying an Israeli flag.

The State Department’s comments came in the form of a written response to a reporter asking at Monday’s press briefing whether the Biden administration agreed with remarks about Waters from the U.S. special envoy to combat antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt.

“Special envoy Lipstadt’s quote-tweet speaks for itself,” the department said.

On May 25, Lipstadt tweeted that she agreed with a Twitter statement from E.U. antisemitism envoy Katharina von Schnurbein that she is “sick and disgusted by Roger Waters’s obsession to belittle and trivialize the Shoah and the sarcastic way in which he delights in trampling on the victims, systematically murdered by the Nazis. In Germany. Enough is enough. Holocaust trivialization is criminalized across the E.U.”

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