Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters accused his critics of “bad faith” after German police announced an investigation into a controversial concert in Berlin that caused him much criticism.
For this concert, the singer and composer wore a uniform reminiscent of Nazi SS officers and used the name of Anne Frank, a young German Jew who died in a concentration camp.
Roger Waters responded in a message posted Friday evening on his Instagram and Twitter accounts: “My recent concert in Berlin generated attacks of ill will from those who want to silence me because they disagree with my political views.”
He added that “the aspects of the concert that raised questions are clearly a message against fascism, injustice and intolerance in all its forms,” and any attempt to approach it from another perspective is “unfair.”
And the Berlin police announced, on Friday, through a spokesperson for it, the opening of an investigation after receiving complaints, “on suspicion of incitement to hatred because of costumes worn on stage that would glorify or justify the national socialist system and disturb the peace of public order.”
Pictures spread on social networks showed the singer wearing a long black coat with a symbol reminiscent of the swastika (Nazi emblem) and red armbands during the concert.
The media also indicated writings written in red letters on a screen during the party, the names of Anne Frank and Sherine Abu Aqleh, the Palestinian-American reporter who was killed by an Israeli sniper while she was covering an Israeli military operation for the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel in May 2022.
“Unfortunately, the legal proceedings against him so far have been in his favour, despite the fact that he is spreading anti-Semitism and is suspected of inciting hatred,” commented the German government’s delegate to combat anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, on Saturday in statements to the Funke Group’s newspapers.
The Berlin concert sparked strong criticism in Israel.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry criticized Waters on Wednesday for “tarnishing the memory of Anne Frank and the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust”.
“Waters wants to liken Israel to the Nazis,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon wrote on Twitter, describing the former “Pink Floyd” star as “one of the greatest critics of Jews of our time.”
Roger Waters, 79, has taken controversial positions in recent years, particularly on the war in Ukraine.
On February 8, Waters said before the UN Security Council, where he delivered a speech at Russia’s invitation, “It is not true that the Russian invasion of Ukraine took place without provocation” from the Ukrainian side.
Waters also defends measures to boycott Israeli products in the name of defending the Palestinian cause.
And the German city of Frankfurt authorities decided to cancel a concert by the British singer scheduled for Sunday, but an administrative court overturned the decision in the name of freedom of expression.
A demonstration against Roger Waters’ arrival in the city was called for by the local Jewish community and the Green Party in particular.
The criticism comes after US President Joe Biden announced a new strategy to combat anti-Semitism in his country, in response to the claims of a number of American Jewish organizations.
“We must say clearly and forcefully that anti-Semitism and all forms of hate and violence have no place in America. Silence is complicity,” Biden said in a video clip posted on his Twitter account.
Biden’s strategy takes shape in a 60-page document containing more than 100 recommendations, including streamlining the reporting of hate crimes across local and federal law enforcement agencies, which would enable the government to accurately assess the extent of hate crimes.
The document also includes a proposal to reform the US legal provision that protects social media platforms from liability for content posted by users on their sites.
Biden’s plan states that social media companies must have a “zero tolerance policy for hate speech on their platforms.”