The former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has sparked a furious international disagreement by comparing the Israeli government to the Nazis.
The 70-year-old musician faces accusations of antisemitism after he said Israel’s “oppression” of the Palestinian people was akin to the Holocaust.
Speaking last week to the online US magazine Counter Punch, Waters said: “The parallels with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.
“There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinian people being murdered.”
Waters, who supports a cultural boycott of Israel, described the country’s Rabbis as “bizarre” and said they treated Palestinians and other Middle Eastern Arabs as “sub-human”.
Religious leaders hit back at Waters for what they described as an “antisemitic diatribe”. In a New York Observer article entitled “The Anti-Semitic Stench of Pink Floyd”, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said: “Mr Waters, the Nazis were a genocidal regime that murdered six million Jews. That you would have the audacity to compare Jews to monsters who murdered them shows you have no decency, you have no heart, you have no soul.
Waters defended his comments, telling the Observer: “I do not know Rabbi Boteach, and am not prepared to get into a slanging match with him.”
He added: “I have nothing against Jews or Israelis, and I am not antisemitic. I deplore the policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories and Gaza. They are immoral, inhuman and illegal. I will continue my non-violent protests as long as the government of Israel continues with these policies.”
Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, told the newspaper: “Everyone is entitled to an opinion and to advocate passionately for a cause, but drawing inappropriate parallels with the Holocaust insults the memory of the six million Jews – men, women and children – murdered by the Nazis. These kinds of attacks are commonly used as veiled antisemitism and should be exposed as such.”