Controversial rocker Roger Waters is facing a growing storm of criticism in Frankfurt, with calls for the cancellation of his upcoming “This is Not a Drill 2023” tour stop in the German city. Accusations of antisemitism have long been leveled at the former Pink Floyd frontman, and his outspoken support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel has only added fuel to the fire.
The pressure is ramping up, with Frankfurt’s Green Party mayor among those calling for the May 28 concert at the city’s Festhalle arena to be canceled. And Uwe Becker, the antisemitism commissioner for the state of Hesse, has slammed Waters as an “example of aggressive, Israel-related antisemitism” and said he should not be given an artistic platform.
Mike Josef, a leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Frankfurt and a member of the Festhalle’s advisory board, is reportedly seeking an agreement among the concert organizers, the city, and the state of Hesse to formally cancel the show (via The Algemeiner). Jewish community advocate Michel Friedman has even called for compensation to be paid to the organizers to underline that “money should not be an issue in the fight against anti-Jewish hatred.”
Waters’ past tours have featured provocative symbols, including flying pigs branded with the Star of David, and he has increasingly flirted with overt antisemitism. In 2020, he was widely condemned for describing the late pro-Israel billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson as a “puppet master” controlling the US government who believed that “only Jews… are completely human.” The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) accused him of “deranged antisemitism.”
But it’s not just his views on Israel that are causing concern. In recent months, Waters has also been criticized for his statements supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. After he gave an interview calling US President Joe Biden a “war criminal” and blaming NATO for Russia’s aggression, the head of Russia’s National Security Council, Dimitri Medvedev, praised Waters as proof that “there are still decent people in the West.”
Waters’ Pink Floyd bandmates have distanced themselves from his controversial views, with guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason reforming the group last April to release a single supporting Ukraine’s independence struggle. Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, took to Twitter to slam Waters, calling him “antisemitic to your rotten core,” and a “lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac.”