Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has found himself in hot water after he insulted the Jewish community with a seemingly anti-Semitic display at a recent concert.
The incident happened Saturday, July 20 at a concert in Belgium, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. A giant, pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with the Star of David, as well as dictatorial symbols, dropped from the ceiling while Waters performed. His attire reportedly consisted of a long leather jacket and red-and-white arm band, "reminiscent of a Nazi uniform," per JTA. He was also carrying a fake machine gun.
“I came to the concert because I really like his music, without any connection to his political stance toward Israel,” concertgoer Alon Onfus Asif, an Israeli living in Belgium, told Israel daily Yediot Ahronot. “And I had a lot of fun, until I noticed the Star of David, on the inflatable pig. That was the only religious-national symbol which appeared among other symbols for fascism, dictatorships and oppression of people. Waters crossed the line and gave expression to an anti-Semitic message, beyond all his messages of anti-militancy.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a global Jewish human rights organization, believes the intent was bigoted. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a dean at the center, described the pig as a "classic disgusting medieval anti-Semitic caricature widely used by both Nazi and Soviet propaganda to incite hatred against Jews."
In an email to Jewish and Israel-related news outlet The Algemeiner, Cooper said the "disgusting display" shows Waters is "an open hater of Jews."
In an open letter penned in 2011, Waters urged other artists to fight occupation in Palestine by joining a cultural boycott of Israel, according to Israeli paper Haaretz. He said he is not anti-Semitic, but rather a supporter of basic human rights.
The Anti-Defamation League criticized the musician in 2010 for projecting images of planes dropping bombs in the shape of the Star of David during a performance that year. However, the group does not think the pig was anti-Semitic in the most recent context, Israel Nation News notes.
The 69-year-old rocker has been using the inflatable pig for years to display political messages, The Algemeiner notes. There is even a Wikipedia page dedicated to the messages that have been scrawled across the swine's body, including "Impeach Bush Now" and "Torture Shames Us All!"
WATCH video featuring the pig from a recent concert (below).
Clarification: A previous headline suggested Waters is the group's guitarist. He plays the bass guitar. Wording has been changed to specify this.