Former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters came under fire recently, after a concert in Belgium where the band's famous inflatable pig floated around an arena with the Star of David branded on it. Also featured on the pig were dollar signs, a hammer and sickle symbol representing the Soviet Union, the Shell oil company logo and what looks like a silhouette of a man giving a Nazi salute.
One concert goer, an Israeli named Alon Onfus Asif who lives in Belgium, was offended by the perceived message. "That was the only religious-national symbol which appeared among other symbols for fascism, dictatorships and oppression of people," he tells Yediot Ahronot, "Waters crossed the line and gave expression to an anti-Semitic message, beyond all his messages of anti-militancy."
Once the news spread, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, released a statement. He tells The Amgemeiner, "With this disgusting display Roger Waters has made it crystal clear. Forget Israel, never mind "limited boycotts promoting Middle East Peace.'" He also labeled Waters, who has been a vocal supporter of boycotting Israel in the past, an "open hater of Jews."
Waters fired back in an open letter to Cooper on his Facebook page. He points to an announcement by the Anti-Defamation League, who recently said they don't find his use of the Star of David on the pig to be anti-Semitic. "I should point out that in the show, I also use the Crucifix, the Crescent and Star, the Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil logo and the McDonald's sign, a dollar sign and a Mercedes sign," he says.
As for being an open hater of Jews, Waters maintains, "I have many very close Jewish friends, one of whom, interestingly enough, is the nephew of the late Simon Wiesenthal." Waters says he uses the Star of David not as a symbol for Judaism, but for the nation of Israel and some of its foreign and domestic policies, which he call "racist.".
Waters closes his letter inviting Cooper to attend a show, noting that the pig has been in use since the tour launched in 2010 and he hasn't received any other complaints. It's worth noting that the graffiti on the pig changes from time to time, and hasn't always featured a Star of David.
You can see video of the pig in Belgium below:
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images