German media conglomerate Bertelsmann announced in 2016 that it had, effectively, told Pink Floyd frontman Rogers Waters “Wish You Were Here” and let’s make “Money” while being “Comfortably Numb” to the chutzpah of a company with a troubling World War II-era history signing a noted antisemite.
Fourteen prominent Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, Anti-Defamation League, Conference of European Rabbis, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Simon Wiesenthal Center and World Jewish Congress, recently wrote to BMG, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, urging it to cease working with Waters.
“For over a decade, Roger Waters has peddled and promoted antisemitism and leveraged his immense platform to spread his hateful views to millions worldwide,” stated Ari Ingel, director of Creative Community for Peace, which convened the groups.
“Our letter demonstrates the Jewish community’s concern that corporations cannot sit idly by while their business partners promote hate,” he stated. “We hope BMG reflects on their historical role with antisemitism and reexamines their relationship with Mr. Waters.”
The letter noted, in part, that “BMG’s client Roger Waters recently caused an uproar in Germany when he donned a Nazi-like uniform and compared Shireen Abu Akleh—a Palestinian-American journalist who tragically lost her life while working in a war zone—to Anne Frank, a young girl whom Nazis murdered for simply for being a Jew.”
The groups are part of an effort to promote arts and culture as a means to peace, as well as to counter and educate the entertainment industry about rising antisemitism.