Roger Waters is one of the most vocal Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supporters against the country of Israel, calling on numerous musicians including Radiohead, Kamasi Washington and Nick Cave to cancel their performances in the nation in the past. His comments have ironically called for the boycotts of his own concerts, although the performer recently doubled down on his criticism of the country, while making some controversial statements regarding Jewish-American business magnate Sheldon Adelson.
These comments occurred during an interview with the Middle East Media Research Institute, which discussed the relationship with the US and Israel. During this interview Waters called Adelson a “right-wing fascist racist bigot” and a “puppet master,” who “believes that only Jews – only Jewish people – are completely human.”
“Sheldon Adelson, who is the puppet master pulling the strings of Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and what’s his name… The Ambassador [to Israel], Greenberg [sic] I think his name is. Sheldon Adelson is the puppet master pulling all of the strings,” Waters stated in the interview. “And Sheldon Adelson is a right-wing fascist racist bigot who doesn’t understand the first thing about the idea that human beings might have rights. Sheldon Adelson believes that only Jews – only Jewish people – are completely human. That they are attached in some way…”
He went on to say that he doesn’t believe all Jewish people believe in Adelson’s belief, but then accused Adelson of wanting to create a “Greater Israel, which takes up the whole historic Palestine and the Kingdom of Jordan.”
He went on to claim that the choke hold used on George Floyd by Derek Chauvin was a maneuver taught by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which was recently denied by the organization. He also went on to make unsubstantiated claims that police officers travel to Israel to learn techniques to kill Black Americans and reaffirming his claims that the IDF use these techniques to purposefully murder Palestinians.
“The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week was done with a technique invented by the IDF, by the occupation forces,” he claimed. “The Israelis invested [the technique of] ‘let’s kill people by kneeling on their necks and cutting off the blood supply of the carotid artery to the brain.’ that is an Israeli technique, taught to the militarized police forces of the U.S.A. by Israeli experts, who the Americans have been flying over to the United States, to teach them how to murder the blacks because they have seen how efficient the Israelis have been at murdering Palestinians in the occupied territories by using those techniques. And they are proud of it. They are proud of it. The Israelis are proud of it. They go: ‘Look how good we are at this, you can learn…'”
Waters comments are some of the latest in a series of controversial statements made by musicians, which are directed at influential Jewish figures such as Addelson and George Soros. Unlike Adleson however, the type of condemnation against Soros is usually done by right-wing figures.
In recent months Bad Wolves singer Tommy Vext made false statements claiming that Soros was financing both Black lives Matter and Antifa, which was a sentiment later implied by System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan. While Dolmayan did not specifically name Soros in his condemnation of “the dangerous, billionaire funded, extreme left along with their puppet mouthpieces in the media and entertainment industry” these statements have been prominent in many alt-right circles, which directly lay the blame on Soros.
The anti-Semitic idea of a global Jewish conspiracy has existed for over 100 years and is linked back to an old fabricated text, originally published in Russian, which falsely described a plan of global domination by the Jewish people. This text was prominently distributed by notable anti-Semites such as Henry Ford, while also serving as an integral part of Nazi propaganda.
Anti-Semitic incidents surged last year, which some have attributed to the overall increase in hate crimes, although other incidents have been sparked in the name of Palestinian support. While the debate around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is perhaps the most polarizing topic in global politics, there are many prominent Jewish organizations which have criticized the Israeli government and called for support of Palestinian rights and sovereignty. It should also be noted that the right-wing government in Israel has been highly polarized in the country as well, with many protesters taking to the streets to call for an end to the West Bank’s annexation.
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna