Frankfurt court reverses ban on Roger Waters concert

Roger Waters, dressed in a black t-shirt and black jeans and holding a microphone, raises his arms and smiles onstage

More than 35,000 supporters, including dozens of high-profile cultural figures, demanded that Roger Waters be able to perform in Frankfurt. 


A German court has reversed a ban on rock icon Roger Waters’ upcoming performance in Frankfurt.

The reversal came just three weeks after the Pink Floyd co-founder filed for an injunction against the decision by the Frankfurt city government and the state of Hesse to cancel his 28 May gig.

Lawmakers had falsely accused Waters of anti-Jewish bigotry over his criticism of Israeli apartheid and support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian rights.

Dozens of high-profile cultural figures and more than 35,000 supporters signed a petition demanding that the cancellation be reversed.

“Yet another German court has ruled in favor of supporters of the BDS movement,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) tweeted on Monday.

Local officials had cited Waters’ “persistent anti-Israel behavior” and complained that he has pressured others artists to cancel events in Israel.

The city added that the musician “repeatedly called for a cultural boycott of Israel” and drew comparisons of Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Many German officials appear to be in complete denial of an apartheid reality for Palestinians now widely recognized, including by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Accusations that such anti-racist principles are offensive to Jews have become standard in Germany, where unconditional support for Israel is viewed by government leaders as atonement for the Nazi Holocaust.

Going a step further, lawmakers accused Waters of anti-Jewish bigotry over the concert’s venue, the Festhalle.

According to German media, politicians claimed that Waters would be violating the memory of the more than 3,000 Jewish men who were rounded up and detained there in 1938 during the Kristallnacht pogroms, before being deported by the German Nazis to concentration camps.

But since the 1980s, the Festhalle has been used as a major concert venue with performances by top artists.

The Frankfurt court asserted Monday that the performance “in its overall view does not allow the conclusion that [Waters] glorifies or relativizes National Socialist atrocities or identifies with the National Socialist racial ideology.”

The court’s reversal is the latest in a series of failures by German authorities – egged on by Israel lobby groups – in their attempt to restrict or criminalize activism in support of Palestinian rights.




Well done to the doughty Roger Waters for pressing ahead in this matter. He and the cause he serves so steadfastly deserve congratulations.

I hate to have to repeat myself, but as long as certain conditions prevail in a certain Central European federal republic, there seems little reason not to do so: being lectured on antisemitism by the rotten, paid-up German political class- direct heirs of the Third Reich- is about as grotesque an inversion of moral standing as anything that comes to mind. Of all the nations and all the institutions one could name, the German bourgeoisie still strikes me on the whole as the least qualified to harangue the rest of humanity on our duty to extirpate racism. And yet the country's leading politicians seem to think that the mass murder of Europe's Jews has imposed a mission of leadership and redemption on the shoulders of the very nation that carried out this monstrous act. They actually insist that their national guilt confers on them a sanctified role, chosen by history to guide all others towards a more enlightened perspective. In effect Germany has registered its copyright on the genocide of Europe's Jews and wields that exclusive stamp of ownership against anyone who questions latter-day manifestations of injustice. How nauseating and entirely typical of a specifically German form of hypocrisy. We're treated to the unappetizing spectacle of the sinner boasting of his crimes and citing those very deeds as proof of his entitlement to sit in judgement over all others. Deutschland über alles indeed.


Exceedingly well thought out and written. Bravo!


My heartfelt thanks to Roger Waters and all the others who stand up for human rights, and peace with justice for Palestinians. It is NEVER wrong to tell the truth about the Zionist entity. It is the responsibility of all good people to take a stand and not back down because of intimidation. The false narrative Israel has portrayed to the world must be exposed for what it is......a manipulation to attempt justification of the colonization and occupation of Palestine.


Thank you, Roger Waters, for standing up for the cause of the Palestinian people. When people of courage and conviction stand up for justice and do not back down, oppressors, manipulators and their lackies will begin to treat slowly, for they have no other choice. No matter how many weapons they may have, oppressors are weak for that is why they resort to injustice, for they know time is not on their side.

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).