Pro-Israel activists are confronting Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters at several stops on the U.S. leg of his tour with protest art including a 15-foot inflatable Pinocchio holding the sign, “Roger Waters: We Dont Need Your Lies About Israel!”
Waters’ “Us + Them” tour stopped tonight in Brooklyn, where he’ll also play Tuesday evening at Barclays Center. He spends the rest of the month hitting dates in Uniondale, N.Y., Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Albany, Hartford and Boston.
His years of anti-Israel comments and efforts include calling for a boycott of the Jewish State and slamming other musicians who choose to play for fans in Israel, including a very public spat with Radiohead this summer over their tour dates. “Radiohead are being so soundly criticized by anybody with progressive ideas about human rights, because they have taken that step,” Waters told Russia Today last month. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke flipped off BDS protesters waving Palestinian flags at a July concert in Glasgow.
StandWithUs and Artists 4 Israel are orchestrating the U.S. protest campaign, which coincided with Waters’ show last week in Newark and will take place alongside his upcoming Brooklyn (Sept. 12), Hartford (Sept. 24) and Boston (Sept. 27 and 28) shows.
A digital advertising truck will circle the cities on those days, reading, “Roger Waters: We Don’t Need Your Hate & Censorship Against Israel.” They’ll park at the venue before the shows and be joined by the blow-up Pinocchio and graffiti artists.
“Waters’ history of racism includes projecting the Star of David onto a pig during concerts, spreading conspiracy theories about the ‘Jewish lobby,’ and making slanderous, dehumanizing statements about Israelis,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, in a statement. “He also ignores violent racism against Israelis by Palestinian leaders, and whitewashes the murder of innocent civilians by Palestinian terrorist groups. We refuse to allow his hate and lies to go unchallenged.”
Waters has sparred with the Simon Wiesenthal Center over the Star of David pig balloon. “It’s an update of the classic Jewish stereotype that goes back to the middle ages. You can’t get a more fundamentally anti-Semitic symbol than that,” Wiesenthal Center associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in 2013. “…He has every right to criticize Israeli policies. He can do that all he wants but if, as he says, he’s not an anti-Semite he needs to walk out of the BDS movement. Because BDS is not a protest against Israeli policies; it’s designed to get rid of Israel.”
Waters fired back at the rabbi’s criticism, writing that in concert he also used “the Crucifix, the Crescent and Star, the Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil Logo and The McDonald’s Sign, a Dollar Sign and a Mercedes sign.”
“Like it or not, the Star of David represents Israel and its policies and is legitimately subject to any and all forms of non violent protest,” Waters added.