Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, has created a lot of controversy with his use of the Jewish Star of David on an inflatable pig. The pig has long been a part of Waters/Pink Floyd concerts. But, at a concert in Belgium, fans noticed the pig included the Star of David alongside symbols of oppression. Waters recently has been very critical of Israel and has called for boycotts of the country because of their occupation of Palestine.
The inclusion of the Star of David on the pig did not sit well with a few Jewish groups. Disturbed/Device front-man David Draiman, who is Jewish and has family in Israel, blasted Waters over the use of the Star of David. Draiman writes on Facebook:
"My brothers and sisters my blood,
Regarding Roger Waters usage of a flying pig with the Star of David on it during his performances;
Yes everyone, I am not writing this piece in CAPS. I want no one to use that as an excuse to distract from the seriousness of this message.
I have personally been a fan of Mr. Waters' work for many years. I think that Pink Floyd are one of the most groundbreaking and visionary acts of all time. Mr. Waters' position on the Palestinian/Israeli crisis is well known, and has been well publicized.
Wether or not you agree with the policies of the Israeli government (and there are times where I myself, a half Israeli jew, with a large number of relatives still living in Israel, including my brother and grandmother; do not agree with some of their policies), nothing excuses the usage of the Star of David (the symbol of the Jewish people as a whole, not Israel or its government) emblazoned on a flying pig/zeppelin during his performances for "The Wall". It is uncalled for, abhorrent, and blatantly Anti-Semitic.
If the pig is in fact a symbol of greed and tyranny as described in the song from "The Wall" called "In the Flesh", then affixing the symbol of the Jewish people to it, is an attempt at reinforcing an age old Anti-Semitic stereotype that is unwarranted and beyond offensive. All he is doing through such symbolism is encouraging hatred and teaching his fans that Jews are greedy tyrannical people, which could not be further from the actual truth. If he wanted to make a political statement against the policies of the Israeli government (which I would not be in agreement with either, but would be political and not religious/racial, and therefore understandable), he should have had an image of the Israeli flag on it, the symbol of the government, and not the lone star of David, the symbol of the Jewish people as a whole.
Hitler himself used the star of David as a badge of identifying Jews with the word "Juden" under it, marking ALL Jews as they were mercilessly driven into the cattle cars that lead to the death camps in his maniacal attempt at genocide.
Once again, this is not an issue of freedom of speech, or expression, as Mr. Waters is well within his rights to say and display anything he chooses, even if it does incite hatred, but it does NOT mean that we as responsible individuals against hatred and Anti-Semitic imagery, have to sit back and just take it. Freedom of speech and expression is a two way street, and sometimes you will reap what you sow.
I therefore urge all of my followers, friends, and colleagues, and certainly the Jewish people within the entertainment community to take issue with this Anti-Semitic symbolism, and to demand that the Star of David be stricken from the flying pig, and that a formal apology/explanation be given from Mr. Waters himself.
It should be noted that the Anti Defamation League, which seeks to stop defamation of Jewish people, says that they do not believe that Waters' use of the Star of David on the pig was anti-Semitic. Todd Gutnick, Director of Media Relations for the Anti Defamation League says:
"The song is ‘Run Like Hell’ from Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall.’ The song is written from the point of view of the anti-hero, ‘Pink,’ during a hallucination in which he becomes a fascist dictator and turns a concert audience into an angry mob. True to form, Waters appears dressed for the part. It is a concert tradition going back years that during this song an inflatable pig is released into the air. For this most recent tour, the pig appears to have numerous symbols, including a hammer, dollar signs, and sickle and a small Star of David. In the film version of “The Wall,” the mob raids and destroys the homes of Black and Jewish people, so the use of the Jewish and other symbols on the pig is consistent with the lyrics of the song."