Stirring Up Troubled Waters

The question of whether Roger Waters is anti-Semitic has reared up again, this time as a result of his performance of “The Wall” in Belgium July 20.

Israeli newswire found several people who claimed to be upset that the black pig balloon with a Star of David on the side sent out an unacceptable anti-Jewish message.

This fuss has followed Waters around since early 2006 when The Guardian reported that Waters was under pressure to pull his Tel Aviv show in June of that year.

He appeared to reach a compromise when the show was moved from the Israeli capital to the peace village at Neve Shalom, a community dedicated to the peaceful co-existence of different faiths and races.

“I have moved the concert to Neve Shalom as a gesture of solidarity with those voices of reason, both Palestinian and Israeli, that seek a non-violent route to a just peace,” he said at the time. “The suffering endured by the Palestinian people during the Israeli occupation of the last 40 years is unimaginable to us living in the west and I support them in their struggle to be free.”

The subject of Waters’ attitude to Israel has occasionally resurfaced, or been dug up on a slack news week.

It’s not clear what sparked to focus on the Belgian show for a story, which included unnamed interviewees saying Waters had “crossed the line,” largely because the inflatable pig is hardly a new stage prop.

“It’s been the same for the last three tours,” Waters tour director Andrew Zweck confirmed.

Live Nation Belgium chief Hermam Schueremans says he didn’t notice any unfavorable crowd reaction during the show and subsequently there’ve been no complaints.

The Pig-shaped balloon has the Star of David alongside various fascist symbols and corporate logos. In 2010, after falling foul of America’s Anti-Defamation League, Waters changed a video segment of The Wall that juxtaposed the Star of David and dollar signs.

For his Oct. 6, 2010 show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, he changed the order in which the symbols – crucifixes, Stars of David, dollar signs, Muslim crescents, and Mercedes and Shell Oil logos – appear to fall from the sky so that the Stars Of David were no longer directly followed by the dollars.

“The point I am trying to make in the song [‘Goodbye Blue Sky’] is that the bombardment we are all subject to by conflicting religious, political, and economic ideologies only encourages us to turn against one another, and I mourn the concomitant loss of life,” Rogers wrote on his website in 2010.

There were 40,000 on the site for “The Wall,” which a week earlier had hosted a 60,000 sellout crowd for TW Classic, which featured Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Keane, Santana, Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Blondie and Balthazar.

Rock Werchter July 4-7, which had Green Day, Kings Of Leon, Rammstein, and Depeche Mode, did 85,000 per day.