MLB Takes Waters Out of the Ballpark


The legendary rocker Roger Waters is batting .500 when it comes to his Major League Baseball presence.

Early last week, several prominent Jewish organizations called on MLB to rescind its support for an upcoming concert tour of Waters, former front man for Pink Floyd, and to apologize for associating itself in the first place with the entertainer who is a fierce critic of Israel.

By the end of the week, one of the organizations, B’nai B’rith International, announced that the MLB commissioner’s office said “ads promoting Waters have run their course and there are no plans to schedule any more ads on the MLB platforms.”

Waters is an outspoken advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to weaken Israel economically. His criticism of Israel has, to some observers, veered into anti-Semitism.

B’nai B’rith officials, who did not release the text of the Feb. 7 communication from Major League Baseball, did not indicate that MLB offered an apology. “MLB also noted that it had no anti-Semitic intentions by running these ads,” according to a statement issued by B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel Mariaschin and President Charles Kaufman.

The B’nai B’rith leaders and the Zionist Organization of America had sent letters to MLB Commissioner  Rob Manfred complaining about MLB’s presales promotion of Waters’ 2020 “This is Not a Drill” performance tour of the U.S. and Canada. Its email promotion was part of an ad buy by AEG/Concerts West for several concert tours.

Waters has urged other entertainers not to perform in Israel, and has claimed that the “mainstream media” are “still biased” in favor of Israel. He has especially angered parts of the Jewish community for displaying a Star of David on an inflatable, floating pig at concerts.

B’nai B’rith called Waters “an avowed anti-Semite … with an alarming history of anti-Semitic hatred. We call on MLB to cease providing Roger Waters a platform,” while Morton Klein, ZOA’s president, called Waters “a Jew-hater and Israel hater” equivalent to racist KKK leader David Duke. “MLB’s promotion of Waters gives Waters’ Jew-hatred its stamp of approval and legitimizes Israelophobia,” a ZOA statement said.

MLB did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the B’nai B’rith letter, Waters’ behavior falls under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. The Simon Wiesenthal Center echoed B’nai B’rith’s feelings in a tweet.

ZOA, which did not receive a response from MLB, has urged Israel supporters not to buy tickets to Waters’ shows.