The State Department has falsely accused rock legend Roger Waters, a co-founder of Pink Floyd, of antisemitism over a recent performance in Germany.
Waters has come under criticism for a May 17 show in Berlin where he donned an outfit that resembled a Nazi uniform, part of a performance of the legendary Pink Floyd album “The Wall.”
In response to the criticism, Waters released a statement that said the elements of the show he was criticized for are “quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms.”
“Attempts to portray those elements as something else are disingenuous and politically motivated. The depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980,” Waters said.
Due to his history of being supportive of Palestinian rights and his critiques of the Israeli government, footage of Waters’ concert was taken out of context on social media in an effort to smear him as an antisemite. Deborah Lipstadt, the US special envoy to combat antisemitism, joined in on the smears on Twitter, accusing Waters of “despicable Holocaust distortion.”
On Monday, independent journalist Sam Husseini and AP reporter Matt Lee asked State Department spokesman Vedant Patel about Lipstadt’s comments.
“It’s an obvious attack on fascism, and yet your ambassador is denouncing it and pretending that Roger Waters, presumably because he defends Palestinian rights as well as other people’s rights, is an example of antisemitism. Are you going to distance yourself from this, or are you going to back down on this?” Husseini said.
Patel said he wasn’t aware of the situation, but the State Department gave Lee a written response on Tuesday and backed up Lipstadt’s smear of Waters.
“The concert in question, which took place in Berlin, contained imagery that is deeply offensive to Jewish people and minimized the Holocaust,” the department said. “The artist in question has a long track record of using antisemitic tropes to denigrate Jewish people.”
Disclosure: Antiwar.com has previously received donations from Roger Waters