German broadcasters drop plan to air Roger Waters concerts over his support of Israeli boycott

Jim Bennett/Getty ImagesGerman public broadcasting stations have scrapped plans to air concerts by Roger Waters in 2018 because of “accusations of anti-Semitism against” the former Pink Floyd singer/bassist, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Waters is a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, or BDS, a Palestinian-led organization that asks artists to boycott Israel to protest what it considers the country’s oppressive policies toward Palestinians.

Several TV and radio affiliates of Germany’s ARD network have decided not to broadcast shows that Waters will be playing next June in Berlin and Cologne. One regional affiliate, RBB, said in dropping the concerts, it hoped to send a message to artists that choose not to perform in Israel.

“Taking a clear position here is an important signal for RBB…to the Jewish communities in Berlin and Brandenburg,” RBB artistic director Patricia Schlesinger said in a statement. The stations’ decision to drop the programs comes at a time of rising antisemitism in Germany.

Marek Lieberberg, the promoter of Waters’ 2018 German tour, tells the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper he feels the decision by the stations not to air the concerts is “absolutely ridiculous.”

Lieberberg, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, notes, “Two things have to be separated here: personal opinion and artistic work. The canon of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd is and remains ingenious. On the other hand, he has a questionable private opinion of Israel, he is openly a member of a boycott movement, which I totally reject. But I cannot and will not deny him his right to freedom of expression!”

Lieberberg also maintains that some stations boycotting Waters air programming on Martin Luther and Richard Wagner without pointing out their “bloodthirsty anti-Semitic theories,” adding, “In contrast, Roger Waters’s artistic work is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Jewish.”

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