Jewish group protests Berlin staging of Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall’
A Jewish group Tuesday protested Berlin’s Olympic Stadium hosting Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters’ rock opera “The Wall”, which features an inflatable pig with a Star of David, as “anti-Semitic cheap propaganda”.
The show, which is touring large open-air stadiums across Europe and is due in the German capital Wednesday, has already provoked the ire of Jewish groups and boycott calls.
“On the evening of the Jewish New Year celebration of Rosh Hashana, of all things, Waters is planning his scandal spectacle in the Berlin Olympic Stadium, which was abused by the Nazis for scores of propaganda events,” said Deidre Berger, of the American Jewish Committee.
The show is also due in Duesseldorf, western Germany two days later and has prompted a boycott call by the Jewish community’s leadership, which has labelled Waters an “intellectual arsonist”, according to domestic news agency DPA.
After a complaint in Belgium, Waters, who turns 70 this week, denied in an open letter posted on his website that he was anti-Semitic and highlighted that a crucifix, hammer and sickle, and dollar sign, among other things, were also included in “The Wall” show.
He said, in the statement dated August 1, that he had “many very close Jewish friends” as well as a Jewish daughter-in-law and that his father had died fighting the Nazis in Italy in 1944.
“The Wall” show is many things, including “anti-fascist, anti-apartheid, anti-dogma”, he said.
He also pointed out his support for the Palestinian-founded Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which lobbies worldwide for the economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.
But Berger of the AJC’s Berlin office dismissed as “preposterous” that Waters deny the “anti-Semitic picture language” of the show, saying the pig and some of the other symbols paid into an age-old anti-Semitic stereotype.
She called in an open letter to Berlin’s mayor on the city government, as owner of the Olympic Stadium, to take a stand.
“We ask the Berlin senate to take a position on this anti-Semitic and hostile-to-Israel cheap propaganda and enforce the application of the house rules consistently,” she said, adding that these banned political propaganda, racist and xenophobic slogans.
The British musician, who co-founded Pink Floyd, visited the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall Tuesday, to add his voice to opposition against the removal of part of it for new homes.
In July 1990 Waters performed “The Wall” — the Pink Floyd album released in 1979 — with other artists in Berlin to mark the Wall’s fall eight months earlier.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]