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July 19, 2020

Roger Waters’ anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory

On 25 June, Sir Keir Starmer, the newly elected leader of the UK Labour party, has sacked his Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Rebecca Long Bailey, saying she rewteeted  an interview with British actor and Labour supporter Maxine-Peake in which she promoted an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

In the article, Peake discussed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and claimed that "The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd's neck [...] was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services."

The Independent article also quoted the Israeli police denying Peake's claim, saying: "There is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway." Both Peake and the Independent (the paper that published the said interview) had claimed in the beginning that this theory was based on an Amnesty International report, but Amnesty has denied the claim and said that they had never reported that Israeli security forces had taught the technique used by American  during the killing of George Floyd. 

One does not need to be a genius to understand both the absurdity and the danger in these kinds of claims, linking the Jewish state to crimes committed thousands of miles away. Allegations of Jewish involvement in different wrong-doings worldwide and the trope of Jewish world power are the foundations of modern day anti Semitism.     

Later on that day, Peake tweeted that she had been "inaccurate in my assumption of American police training and its sources,” adding that "I find racism and anti Semitism abhorrent and I in no way wished, nor intended, to add fodder to any views of the contrary." 

The Independent has released a similar clarification quickly afterwards. While Peake admitted to her mistake, however, Long Bailey refused to delete the tweet or answer calls from her party leader until she was fired from the shadow cabinet.

While the Labour politician had been dismissed for sharing an article promoting that conspiratorial claim, British rock star Roger Waters of Pink Floyd had made similar allegations in a far more direct and disturbing manner, but has been left untouched. 

In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency from Gaza, broadcast just 5 days before the Long Bailey retweet scandal, Waters went on another anti-Semitic rant.

The Pink Floyd co-founder said that billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson is a “right-wing fascist racist bigot,” and a “puppet master” pulling the strings of Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and Ambassador David Friedman (Waters calls him “Greenberg” for some reason). Waters claimed Adelson believes that only Jewish people are completely human while everybody else was put on Earth to serve the Jews, and that the establishment of a “Greater Israel” that includes all of Jordan and “historic Palestine” would solve the world’s problems.

If that were not enough, Waters went on to say that America’s police forces learned the technique that killed unarmed African-American George Floyd, the technique of killing people by kneeling on their neck, from the Israeli Defense Forces, which he claims uses this technique to murder Palestinians. 

Reflecting on the incident, Waters said: “The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week was done with a technique invented by the IDF, by the occupation forces. The Israelis invented [the technique of] ‘let’s kill people by kneeling on their necks and cutting off the blood supply of the carotid artery to the brain. that is an Israeli technique, taught to the militarised 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.”

“And they are proud of it. They are proud of it. The Israelis are proud of it. They go ‘look how good we are at this, you can learn',” added Waters.

The ageing rock star concluded by saying, “Zionism is an ugly stain, and it needs to be gently removed by us.”

Waters views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are beyond simplistic. It is not just his “bad Israelis” (apartheid, genocide and other extreme terms he uses) and “good Palestinians” approach, but a case of clear-cut anti Semitism. This hardly comes as a surprise, however. The same Roger Waters featured a giant pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with a Jewish Star of David at one of his concerts, for example.

Unfortunately, there are too many anti-Semitic incidents involving Waters. However, while a politician like Long Bailey has been sacked for much less, nobody seems to try and stop Waters (and other so-called activist artists like Brian Eno and many others) who have crossed the lines years ago from legitimate criticism of the Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories to plain old antisemitism.

Image: per otto oppi christiansen