Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters called philanthropist and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson a “puppet master” and Zionism “an ugly stain” in a June 20 interview with a Hamas-affiliated television network.
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Waters told Shehab News Agency, “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. 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.”
The United States Ambassador to Israel is David Friedman. Waters went on to accuse Adelson of believing that Jews are superior to all other human beings.
“He has this strange – he thinks – biblical construct in his head, that somehow everything will be all right in the world if there is a Greater Israel, which takes up the whole historic Palestine and the Kingdom of Jordan — puts it all together and calls it Israel and gives it only to the Chosen People,” Waters said. “He is crazy.”
The musician then accused the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) of creating the knee-to-neck technique Officer Derek Chauvin used on George Floyd on May 25; Floyd later died after claiming he couldn’t breathe.
“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,” Waters said. “And they are proud of it. They are proud of it. The Israelis are proud of it.”
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld tweeted on June 9 that Israeli law enforcement has never used the knee-to-neck technique and has never taught the technique in any training programs with senior law enforcement officers from other countries.
Waters added, “Zionism is an ugly stain, and it needs to be gently removed by us.”
Various people on Twitter criticized Waters’ remarks as being anti-Semitic.
“Roger Waters, notorious for anti-Israel obsession and teaming up with antisemites around the world has done it again,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account tweeted. “This time on a Hamas-affiliated news network, Waters spreads anti-Semitic tropes and falsely accuses Israelis of training US police to ‘murder blacks in America.’ ”
“Crazy @rogerwaters continues to drag the reputation of @pinkfloyd through the mud with an insane rant on Hamas-terrorist affiliated TV,” StandWithUs Israel executive director Michael Dickson tweeted.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt similarly told the Jewish Chronicle, “Waters’ comments mirror a number of classic and vile anti-Semitic stereotypes … . It’s highly unfortunate to see an individual whose early life was marked by important contributions to the world of music continue to devolve into a discredited propagator of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.”
Associate dean and director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a phone interview that he was amazed at how many anti-Semitic tropes Waters squeezed into one interview, and called Waters’ “Zionism is an ugly stain” remarks “Nazi-like terminology.”
“We have every right to protest and see to it that he’s barred from every venue in the free world,” Cooper said. “Someone who goes around spouting that kind of hatred against a people, a nation, has no place in center stage of our culture.”
Creative Community for Peace director Ari Ingel similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “It is disturbing to see Roger Waters continue his cynical efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel by spreading incendiary lies about the country. Stating that Israel invented kneeling on someone’s neck as a police technique is not just outrageous but also dangerous, as is his claim that a wealthy Jew is pulling the world’s strings, which plays on the age-old anti-Semitic trope right out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is not surprising that he made these comments in an interview with a Hamas-affiliated TV network, as Hamas also calls for the destruction of Israel and is a United States and western designated terrorist organization.”
Israellycool blogger David Lange called Waters’ June 20 remarks his “craziest anti-Semitic rant ever.”
Waters is an ardent proponent of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. He has responded to accusations of anti-Semitism through pointing out that his daughter-in-law is Jewish and that he’s only criticizing the Israeli government.
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