Roger Waters’ fans headed to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Tuesday night will be met by pro-Israel activists, street artists and an inflatable Pinocchio with a sign that reads, “Roger Waters: We Don’t Need Your Lies About Israel!”
The former Pink Floyd bassist and lyricist has been the face of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign since 2011. Waters’ anti-Israel activism can be traced back to 2010, when he narrated “Walled Horizons,” a film produced by the United Nations that denounced Israel’s security barrier.
According to protest organizer Avi Posnick, Managing Director of StandWithUs Northeast, an Israel education and advocacy group, these demonstrations are about creating awareness about Waters’ lies about the Jewish state and his anti-Semitism.
“The goal is to protest Roger Waters’ hate during these concerts and make it known that there is no room for his bigotry, anti-Semitism and censorship of artists who want to perform in Israel. We want to send him a message that there is no room for his hate here in New York, here in the United States. We don’t need your lies about Israel and the Jewish people.”
Claims that Waters is not just anti-Israel but also anti-Semitic first emerged following a 2013 interview in which he called Israel a “racist apartheid regime” that practices “ethnic cleansing.” Waters has compared Jews to Nazi collaborators, and his performances have featured a flying pig with a Star of David.
In a 2013 letter to Waters from the Anti-Defamation League, the ADL called out his anti-Semitic activism, concluding that his “animosity towards Israel [is] colored by anti-Semitism.”
Waters denies claims that he is anti-Semitic. In 2010, after being criticized for his show featuring images of the Star of David and dollar signs being dropped by a B52 bomber, Waters told the UK Independent, “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. ”