Floyd founding member Waters says The Dark Side of Roger Waters, released this week by UK-based advocacy group Campaign Against Antisemitism, “manipulates footage and quotations to serve its agenda and is seriously misleading in many respects.”
Waters, 80, says the filmmakers reached out to him for comment earlier this month, but he declined. Now that the film has been released, he has issued a lengthy statement on his website.
The Dark Side of Roger Waters features interviews with the musician’s former saxophone player Norbert Stachel and The Wall producer Bob Ezrin. Both men are Jewish and say Waters used derogatory language when referring to Jews.
Waters says: “All my life I have used the platform my career has given me to support causes I believe in. I passionately believe in Universal Human Rights. I have always worked to make the world a better, more just and more equitable place for all my brothers and sisters, all over the world, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or nationality, from indigenous peoples threatened by the US oil industry to Iranian women protesting for their rights.
“That is why I am active in the non-violent protest movement against the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Palestine and its egregious treatment of Palestinians. Those who wish to conflate that position with antisemitism do a great disservice to us all.
“Truth is, I’m frequently mouthy and prone to irreverence, I can’t recall what I said 13 or more years ago. I’ve worked closely for many years with many Jewish people, musicians and others.
“If I have upset the two individuals who appear in the film I’m sorry for that. But I can say with certainty that I am not, and have never been, an antisemite – as anyone who really knows me will testify. I know the Jewish people to be a diverse, interesting, and complicated bunch, just like the rest of humanity. Many are allies in the fight for equality and justice, in Israel, Palestine and around the world.
“The film totally distorts and misrepresents my views about the Israeli state and its political ideology, Zionism. It relies on a definition of antisemitism that sees criticising Israel as inherently antisemitic and assumes that Zionism is an essential element in Jewish identity. These opinions, clearly shared by the presenter and the two interviewees, are widely contested by many, including many Jewish people.
“The CAA film manipulates footage and quotations to serve its agenda and is seriously misleading in many respects.
“In summary, the film is a flimsy, unapologetic piece of propaganda that indiscriminately mixes things I’m alleged to have said or done at different times and in different contexts, in an effort to portray me as an antisemite, without any foundation in fact.”
Earlier this year, Waters was the subject of a German police investigation into a Nazi-style uniform he wore at a gig in Berlin. He had appeared on stage wearing a black leather trench coat with a red armband showing two crossed hammers instead of a swastika.
He was dressed as the character Pink from rock opera The Wall during a performance of the song In the Flesh.