(JTA) — Roger Waters projected Anne Frank’s name at recent concerts to draw comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, leading Germany’s Orthodox rabbinical association to call for a ban on Waters performances in the country.
Observers told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman known as a leader in the boycott Israel movement, has lumped Anne Frank together with Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in on-screen projections at concerts on his current tour. Abu Akleh was killed on an assignment in the West Bank last year.
The screen at Waters concerts also frequently shows a pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with the logo of an Israeli armaments firm. He reportedly at times dons an SS uniform and symbolically shoots a machine gun into the crowd.
Some say the 79-year-old rocker plays with antisemitic stereotypes, going beyond political criticism into incitement of hate. German media “went into the shows and were disgusted by them; it is such blunt and disgusting propaganda they are hearing, and the music is really in the background,” said Sacha Stawski, Frankfurt-based pro-Israel activist and founder of Honestly Concerned.
Waters, who won many hearts in Germany through Pink Floyd’s live “The Wall” concert in 1990, recently performed concerts in Berlin and Munich and was on to Frankfurt, where he had successfully appealed a court order to ban the event. That concert is scheduled for May 28.
The city of Frankfurt had called Waters “one of the most widely spread antisemites in the world,” over imagery and Israel critique at his past concerts, in its attempt to ban him from playing there. Munich’s mayor had also unsuccessfully attempted to block a Waters show.
If they cannot stop him in the courts, opponents said they will continue to try to sway public opinion.
“My goal is to educate about his hatred, to make sure less and less people go into these concerts,” said Stawski, a main force behind efforts to challenge Waters in the Frankfurt court, which claim that Waters is antisemitic. Several German cities have passed legislation barring state-funded venues from hosting events for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that Waters champions.
Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said at a protest before Water’s concert last Sunday in her home city that she was frustrated by the courts.
“Since October 2022, there have been arguments about this concert. Legal motions and media headlines have been produced en masse — without yielding any result,” she said. “So that now, in May, we are standing here protesting against a concert that is taking place exactly as Roger Waters always wanted it to.”
Politicians joined in the protest with Knobloch, and even the management of the Olympia Stadium, on monitors ahead of the concert, explicitly distanced itself from the singer’s politics, according to the Suddeutsche Zeitung.
“What do the regular affirmations of ‘Never Again’ by politicians and statements that antisemitism has no place in Germany actually count for, if at the same time errant interpreters and intellectual arsonists are offered a public space to blatantly spread their hatred of Jews and Israel?” read the May 22 statement from the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany, led by Rabbis Avichai Apel, Zsolt Balla and Yehuda Pushkin. “It is deeply shameful that in no case in Germany has it so far been possible to ban the clearly antisemitic and anti-Israeli concerts of Roger Waters.”
The Belltower journalist Nicholas Potter, who observed the May 17 Berlin concert, argued that Waters promoted antisemitic language.
In speech bubbles on an LED screen in the Mercedes-Benz Arena, Waters blamed the world’s troubles on “THE POWERS THAT BE,” which Potter described as “an ominous, overpowering elite that is not explicitly named — this is an antisemitic blueprint on which many conspiracy narratives work.”
Before the event, BDS supporters outside the arena handed out flyers and held up banners, one of which read, “Jews, Israelis and internationals all agree with the Roger,” added Potter, noting that the average concertgoer appeared to be white, German and around 60 years old.
Waters has had little new to say about the allegations of antisemitism and has not apparently changed his tune. According to the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, hours before his concert in Munich, Waters posted a message on Facebook calling Israel a “tyrannical, racist regime.” He compared the BDS movement to Germany’s Nazi-era White Rose resistance movement, whose leaders, including siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, were beheaded by the Nazi regime.
His remarks were in keeping with his comments in an interview with Spiegel Magazine in March. He denied that he had ever been an antisemite, and added that it was “bizarre that my career should now be attacked on the basis of allegations made by the Israel lobby.”
“For all I care, they can try to cancel every concert I do in Germany. I will fight them in court,” he told Spiegel. “It’s a tragedy for Germany that they even try. Because the message to the world is: We Germans don’t care about human rights and freedom of expression.”
People should take Waters at his word and stay away if they disagree with his politics, said Stawski, referring to the fact that Waters also tells Pink Floyd fans who don’t agree with him to “f*** off,” via the arena screen.
“If you are a fan of Pink Floyd but do not want to go along with the antisemitism, buy a CD of Pink Floyd and do not damn well go into these concerts,” Stawski said.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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