Waters, ADL have exchange on anti-Semitism charges

(JTA) — Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism — and the Anti-Defamation League responded to the musician.

The ADL had slammed Waters last week for using what it said was anti-Semitic imagery during performances of "Goodbye Blue Sky" on his 2010-11 "The Wall Live" tour, which targets Israel’s West Bank security fence. 

An animated scene projects images of planes dropping bombs in the shape of Jewish Stars of David, dollar signs, a crucifix, a hammer and sickle, a crescent and star, a Mercedes sign and a Shell Oil sign.

The ADL had expressed concern that the juxtaposition of the Star of David and the dollar sign "could easily be misunderstood as a comment about Jews and money."

In a letter published Monday in The Independent, Waters said that  "there are no hidden meanings in the order or juxtaposition of these symbols. The point I am trying to make in the song is that the bombardment we are all subject to by conflicting religious, political and economic ideologies only encourages us to turn against one another, and I mourn the concomitant loss of life."

The letter goes on to say that "In so far as The Wall has a political message it is to seek to illuminate our condition, and find new ways to encourage peace and understanding, particularly in the Middle East."

Waters told Britain’s The Independent that he felt compelled to respond to the ADL’s charges.

"If I don’t respond, people will see the story and will come to believe I’m anti-Semitic, and I’m not," he said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. "

Waters said he had never heard of the ADL before the controversy. 

Abraham Foxman, the organization’s national director, responded to Waters in an open letter.

"We, too, have heard from many of your fans who have attended the concerts in the States and were shocked by the decision to immediately follow the Star of David with dollar signs," Foxman wrote. "We would ask, out of sensitivity to those who might be offended, that you change the order of the symbols so that the dollar signs are made to appear elsewhere in the show. For us, it would put this matter entirely to rest." 

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