Roger Waters has launched a vigorous defence of his views and music after being accused by an American-Jewish rights agency of using images in his stage show that promoted stereotypes.

During a performance of Goodbye Blue Sky at the United States leg of The Wall Live tour, which revives Pink Floyd's hit 1979 album, a B52 bomber projected on to a backdrop is shown dropping symbols including the Star of David and a dollar sign, as well as a crucifix and logos for Shell and Mercedes.

Abraham Foxman, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, said using the dollar sign and the Star of David in sequence echoed the stereotype that Jews were avaricious.

Waters, who was born in Surrey but has lived in the US for 10 years, said the slur was so serious he felt compelled to set the record straight in an open letter to the Independent.

"I watch the workings of politics here and particularly the Republican Party. They work with the axiom that you can tell as many lies as you want - and often the bigger the better - and eventually they will be believed," he said.

"If I don't respond people will see the story and will come to believe I'm anti-Semitic, and I'm not. Nothing could be further from the truth."

The images he chose to project during the show were selected because they are "representative of religious and national and commercial interests, all of which have a malign influence on our lives and prevent us from treating each other decently".

Waters has spoken against Israeli policies and accused the ADL of painting critics as anti-Semitic.

"It's a screen that they hide behind. I don't think they should be taken seriously on that. You can attack Israeli policy without being anti-Jewish," he said.

COMMENT: From an outsider's perspective it does appear that in the US you can go on Fox TV and say the most obnoxious things about anyone you like except the Israeli government. Really this selective freedom of speech is just not on. I mean, am I the only person to notice that placing Mercedes and Shell in sequence is just reinforcing the old stereotype of big German cars being gas guzzlers?



  1. Hmmm.

    I’m sympathetic to Waters . . . but it seems like his montage was ill thought out (i.e., takes too many words to explain—though I reserve judgment, as I haven’t actually seen it).

  2. You have to remember that he’s English, even if he lives in the States. You can get into trouble here for saying a racist joke but there ain’t no way any pressure group would try it on like US pressure groups do. They would lose any support they had and be ridiculed in the press.

  3. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
    Pressure groups have to make a name for themselves and get noticed somehow or their donations dry up.
    People spend their whole working lives as “activists” and “advocates”; sort of like clergy, only no funny clothes and you don’t have to do bake sales or deal with choirs.