In Guardian op-ed, Roger Waters denies he’s antisemitic

Antisemitism isn't an immutable trait. It's a habit of mind.  Antisemitism is a conspiratorial way of understanding of how the world works, premised on the belief that 'the system is rigged' by an "elite using its control of the mechanisms of society" for nefarious purposes - and which of course imagines Jews at the center of this cabal. 

Roger Waters’ op-ed in the Guardian yesterday (If you believe in human rights, Madonna, don’t play Tel Aviv, April 18th) included the following passage:

 …because I support human rights and criticise the Israeli government for its violations, I am routinely accused of being antisemitic. That accusation can be used as a smokescreen to divert attention and discredit those who shine a light on Israel’s crimes against humanity.

First, note how Waters employs what’s known as the Livingstone Formulation in suggesting that Jews cynically use the false charge of antisemitism to stifle criticism of Israel.

Moreover, the record shows that Waters does in fact have a history of evoking antisemitic tropes. During an interview in Counterpunch in 2013, he not only compared Israel to Nazi Germany, but also suggested that the “Jewish lobby” controls “the music industry and rock ‘n roll”.

The blog Israellycool posted a reply to Waters’ Guardian op-ed which includes a good compilation video of his comments:

The question that’s routinely asked is whether someone is antisemitic, which is not really the right question, because we can never see into someone’s soul.  Antisemitism isn’t an immutable trait. It’s a habit of mind.  Antisemitism is a conspiratorial way of understanding how the world works, premised on the belief that the system is rigged by an “elite using its control of the mechanisms of society” for nefarious purposes – and which of course imagines Jews as the “elite” at the center of this cabal. 

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