Following Roger Waters‘ concert in the German capital city on May 17th, Berlin Police launched a criminal investigation into the former Pink Floyd singer on “suspicion of incitement of the people” after accusations arose that he wore a Nazi SS-like uniform, fired a fake machine gun, and denigrated the death of Anne Frank.
The former Pink Floyd musician has since released a statement on the matter claiming that the response of a “smear” campaign against him. Waters has been accused of courting anti-semitic controversies since 2010.
The initial accusations were levelled against Waters after controversial concert footage showed a graphic depicting the Jewish Star of David next to dollar signs. He later stated via his website: “There are no hidden meanings in the order or juxtaposition of these symbols.”
He has now countered the latest claims of anti-semitism by stating: “My recent performance in Berlin has attracted bad faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles.”
Waters has always maintained that those views do not pertain to anti-semitism but rather opposition to Israel. As he recently told Der Spiegel: “I am not an anti-Semite. I have never been an anti-Semite and I will never be one. I have stressed that on many occasions. It is bizarre that my career should now be attacked on the basis of allegations made by the Israel lobby.”
He added: “[Israel] is a state in which a certain group, the Jewish people, have supremacy, and Jewish citizens enjoy rights that are denied to their fellow citizens. The government says so openly.”
He uses a similar defence regarding the most recent controversy, claiming in his statement: “The elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms.”
Continuing: “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 Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980.”
While this claim is correct, many detractors from local organisations have said that amid the recent controversy amplifying the Navi connotations of the character and mentioning Anne Frank are inciting gestures.
“I have spent my entire life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I see it,” Waters has stated in response. “When I was a child after the war, the name Anne Frank was often spoken in our house, she became a permanent reminder of what happens when fascism is left unchecked. My parents fought the Nazis in World War II, with my father paying the ultimate price.”
He concluded: “Regardless of the consequences of the attacks against me, I will continue to condemn injustice and all those who perpetrate it.”
Meanwhile, the Berlin police have confirmed that they are still investigating the matter. For the full story of the controversy and accusations so far click here.