Former Pink Floyd bass player and vocalist Roger Waters offended some audience members at a concert last week when he raised a pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with the iconic Jewish symbol the Star of David and a variety of fascist symbols.
Waters has been a prominent pro-Palestinian activist, publicly advocating the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign to boycott Israel and is now being called “an open hater of Jews.”
Ynet reports that at Waters’ show in Belgium last Saturday, a balloon in the shape of a pig was raised overhead and on it a Star of David along with “symbols of dictatorial organizations and regimes from around the world.”
“Next to the Star of David, on the wild pig balloon, there was also a sign of oil conglomerate Shell, and a graffiti message stating, ‘Everything will be okay, just keep consuming,’ and ‘What’s wrong with people?’” reports Ynet.
According to video reportedly taken at an earlier concert, the pig also appeared to be painted with dollar signs and the Communist hammer and sickle symbol.
The pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon located the video of the flying pig display at a concert on Thursday that a YouTube user had posted and titled “Pig-drone.”
Alon Onfus Asif, an Israeli expat in Belgium, was shocked by the display and tells Ynet, “I came to the concert because I really like his music, without any connection to his political stance toward Israel.”
“I had a lot of fun, until I noticed the Star of David, on the inflatable pig. That was the only religious-national symbol which appeared among other symbols for fascism, dictatorships and oppression of people. Waters crossed the line and gave expression to an anti-Semitic message, beyond all his messages of anti-militancy,” Asif says.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center called it a “grotesque display of Jew-hatred,” telling the Jewish news site The Algemeiner, “With this disgusting display Roger Waters has made it crystal clear. Forget Israel, never mind ‘limited boycotts promoting Middle East Peace.’ Waters is an open hater of Jews.”
On the Wiesenthal Center’s website, Cooper posted a statement saying “Waters deployed a classic disgusting medieval anti-Semitic caricature widely used by both Nazi and Soviet propaganda to incite hatred against Jews.”
“The video is beyond shocking. The only books this bigot should be getting should be with the Mullahs in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood,” Cooper added.
But the Anti-Defamation League disagrees that Waters’ motivation was anti-Semitic. “This is the same thing he’s been doing for years,” ADL Director of Media Relations Todd Gutnick told The Algemeiner. “We believe there’s no anti-Semitic intent here in the use of the Star of David symbol.”
Gutnick further explained: “The song is ‘Run Like Hell’ from Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall.’ The song is written from the point of view of the anti-hero, ‘Pink,’ during a hallucination in which he becomes a fascist dictator and turns a concert audience into an angry mob. True to form, Waters appears dressed for the part.”
In the video, a large onstage screen shows Waters firing a machine gun wearing a black jacket and a red arm band reminiscent of the Nazi armband though it is unclear from the video what symbol is printed on the armband.
“It is a concert tradition going back years that during this song an inflatable pig is released into the air…In the film version of ‘The Wall,’ the mob raids and destroys the homes of Black and Jewish people, so the use of the Jewish and other symbols on the pig is consistent with the lyrics of the song,” Gutnick added.
El Al Israel Airlines last week canceled a promotional package featuring concert tickets to Waters’ concert in Budapest, Hungary after pro-Israel activists wrote to the airline suggesting it was inappropriate given the musician’s commitment to boycotting Israel.
The Israelly Cool blog which first reported on the marketing package called the tour package offered by the Israeli airline “misguided and in bad taste, given Waters loathing of Israel.”
As TheBlaze reported in March, Waters told a pro-Palestinian website that “the Israeli government runs an apartheid regime in Israel, the occupied territories and everywhere else it decides.”
Here is video that the blog Elder of Ziyon reports was from Waters’ July 18 concert:
This post has been updated.