Roger Waters Hits Back at 'anti-Semite' Charge

Artistic leader of BDS movement replies to accusation from British Jewish leader, says charge is 'part of general tactic of hasbara.'

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Haaretz
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Haaretz

Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, the most active artistic figure in the BDS movement against Israel's policies toward Palestinians, has lashed back at prominent British Jewish leader Gerald Ronson for accusing him of being an anti-Semite.

In an open letter published Tuesday in Britain's Telegraph, Waters said: "Because I am a critic of this Israeli government’s policies and in the absence of this Israeli government producing cogent arguments to defend themselves from my criticism, I am instead routinely subjected to the accusation that I am an anti-Semite. This is a pattern, a crude pattern, but nevertheless an identifiable and repeated pattern, a part of the general tactic of 'Hasbara.'"

Ronson, a business magnate and chairman of the Community Security Trust, which is British Jewry's lead organization against anti-Semitism, ridiculed Waters as an anti-Semite during a charity dinner in London earlier this month. Noting the Star of David on the inflated pig that floats over Waters' "The Wall" shows, and the parallels the musician has drawn between Israel and Nazi Germany, Ronson told the dinner's high-profile audience:

“But, he insists that he is only anti-Israel, and is not, of course, anti-Semitic."

Waters has noted in the past that along with the Star of David, the inflated pig in "The Wall" also features a Christian cross, a Muslim crescent and star, the Communist hammer and sickle, the logos of Shell Oil and McDonalds and other symbols.

Regarding the charge of anti-Semitism, which has also been leveled against Waters by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League and many other Israel advocates, the musician noted that his father died in World War II fighting the Nazis. He said in the letter to Ronson: "Do not dare to presume to preach to me, my father’s son, about anti-Semitism or human rights.

"Look to your own house and the human rights abuses and racism of the Israeli government you defend," Waters continued. "If Jews and Palestinians are to live in peace then there must be a real acknowledgment of the fact that Israel is denying freedom to Palestinians and abusing the term 'anti-Semitism' to intimidate people, like me, into silence …"

British rock musician and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters spray-paints the words 'No Thought Control' on a section of the separation barrier in the West Bank.Credit: AP

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