Roger Waters has said he will play in Frankfurt despite a planned performance there being canceled due to allegations of anti-Semitism.
The former Pink Floyd frontman was due to play at the publicly owned Festhalle on May 28, but the council canceled the performance because of the musician’s views on Israel. They later described him as “one of the world’s best-known anti-Semites”.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretzthe cancellation notice cited Waters’ boycott of Israel — also known as the BDS campaign — as well as the musician’s conversations with Hamas-affiliated media, comparisons of Israel to apartheid South Africa and what many see as anti-Semitic imagery at shows.
It also referred to the sensitivity surrounding the site, which was used as an internment center for around 3,000 Jews who were then deported to concentration camps in 1938.
Now, however, Waters has suggested he is “coming anyway” despite the cancellation. He posted an update to Instagram along with a photo of the grave of Sophie Scholl, a German student and anti-Nazi activist who was beheaded via guillotine in 1943 for distributing anti-war leaflets around the University of Munich.
The post also suggested that Waters has filed an injunction against the council but has not received a response. He had previously indicated he may take legal action against the proposal to cancel his appearances, which he claimed was “unconscionable” and an attempt to “silence him”.
“Frankfurt Council was legally obliged to respond to Roger Waters [sic] preliminary injunction at midnight on April 14,” Waters wrote. “Did they? Nobody knows? We can only guess what is happening in Frankfurt? Are they currently playing? Who knows?”
He continued: “Not that it matters that much! We’re coming anyway! Because human rights matter! Because freedom of speech matters! Yes!
“Frankfurt City Council, we remember Kristallnacht! Like Sophie Scholl, our fathers stood with the three thousand Jewish men, and today we stand with the Palestinians! We are coming to Frankfurt on May 28! [sic] Love, R.”
A petition was launched last month to overturn the decision made by Frankfurt city council, signed by the likes of Eric Clapton, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and Pink Floyd’s own Nick Mason.
Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and Soft Machine founder Robert Wyatt have also shown their solidarity, as well as actors Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie and film director Ken Loach. Currently, the petition has more than 34,000 signatures.
“Waters’ criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is part of his long-term advocacy for human rights around the globe,” read the description accompanying the petition. “The officials who vilify Waters are engaging in a dangerous campaign that intentionally conflates criticism of Israel’s illegal and unjust policies with anti-Semitism.”
It continued: “Officials in Germany, concert promoters and music platforms must not succumb to the pressure of the individuals and groups who would rather see Waters’ music removed than engage with the issues his music highlights.”
Another petition has also been launched online, unlike the first.
During an interview last year, Waters referred to Israel as “a hegemonic, colonialist settler project that operates a system of apartheid” for its continued occupation of Palestinian territories.
Waters also insisted that he was “absolutely not anti-Semitic”, arguing that “to say that Israel has no right to exist as an apartheid state, any more than South Africa did or elsewhere would, is not anti-Semitic”. .
The artist’s view of Israel has caused controversy over the years. Earlier this year, David Gilmour attacked his former Pink Floyd bandmate on Twitter, continuing a decades-long rift between the pair over claims of anti-Semitism. Gilmour’s wife, author Polly Samson, shared a tweet accusing Waters of being “anti-Semitic to [his] rotten core”.
She continued: “Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax dodging, lip-smacking, misogynist, sick with envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense.”
Gilmour then re-shared Samson’s tweet, adding that “every word [is] demonstrably true”.
Shortly before Gilmour’s post, Waters himself issued a statement calling Samson’s comments “incendiary and wildly inaccurate” and saying he “rejects [them] hero”. He added that he is currently “taking advice on his position” regarding the allegations.
Waters has also re-recorded Pink Floyd’s classic ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ solo. Former bandmate Nick Mason paid tribute to his version, declaring: “Annoyingly, it’s absolutely brilliant.”
Last month, Waters kicked off the European leg of his ‘This Is Not A Drill’ farewell tour. He will then come to the UK from May 31 with stops in Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Manchester.