Roger Waters at a show in Barcelona [Photo Credit: Alterna2]

Thanks to pro-Israel activists lobbyists, German public broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) withdrew its sponsorship of an upcoming Roger Waters concert on Sunday. The activists cited Roger Waters’ anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views, according to reports in German media. Roger Waters has had a long history of activism and vocal support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Most recently, Waters along with fellow British musician Brian Eno attempted to bully Australian musician Nick Cave into cancelling a Tel Aviv performance that the performer had already booked. In a powerful display of disapproval and defiance for Roger Waters and Co and for the BDS movement, Nick Cave told reporters during a press interview, “It suddenly became clear very important to me to make a stand against those who people that are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and who are trying to silence musicians… In a way that the BDS movement made me play in Israel.

WDR pulled its support for the show in Cologne scheduled for June 11, 2018, after a local protests against the broadcasters support for Waters. Upon learning of the broadcasters support for the event, Jewish and non-Jewish activists alike launched the petition on social networks titled “Not to Support Public Funds for Antisemitic Roger Waters.” An article published in the newspaper of the Jewish community in Germany, “Judische Algeimne”, presented harsh and deserved criticism of the broadcaster, writing that public funds that financed the public station were directed to promote an advertisement for Waters’ show despite his anti-Semitic views. “Anyone who finances Waters, who uses his concerts with anti-Semitic symbols and presents himself as a musician, also supports the BDS movement,” concluded the article.

In a letter mainly directed at the Jewish community of Germany, chairman of WDR Tom Buhrow wrote, “I feel that words and arguments will not convince the members of your community, but only an unequivocal action, and I am telling you about it, because it is important for me to believe how important your sensitivity is to me: The sponsorship of the concert has been canceled, please refer to my clear decision as a personal message of credibility and understanding.”

The latest criticism of the broadcast organization from pro-Israel activists comes on the heels of a decision made this past summer by WDR to refuse to broadcast a documentary about new forms of anti-Semitism in Europe that the broadcasting organization had already slated for broadcast. The film first addressed the anti-Israeli nature of the new European anti-Semitism and emphasized the widespread anti-Semitism in Muslim and Arab immigrant communities. Only after heavy public pressure was the station willing to broadcast the documentary film after adding “explanations.”  

We at Lev Haolam want to thank all of the pro-Israel activists in Germany for standing up to Roger Waters and the BDS movement.

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