British rock icon Roger Waters has promised to pursue legal action against the German city of Frankfurt after local authorities canceled a concert he was scheduled to play, citing anti-Semitic remarks allegedly made by the musician.
“The decision makers in Frankfurt know that they are on the wrong side of the law,” Waters said in a statement on Tuesday, claiming the cancellation of his gig was an attack on artistic freedom. He added that politicians had “no right to intimidate and bully artists and their fans” with such bans.
It comes after the city council of Frankfurt announced that the May 28 concert would not be permitted, describing Waters as “one of the world’s best-known anti-Semites.”
The musician has repeatedly called for Israel to be sanctioned and boycotted over atrocities allegedly committed against Palestinians. Waters has also described Israel as a “terrorist, apartheid, racist, colonialist regime.”
He has, however, denied accusations of anti-Semitism and insisted he is merely supporting human rights. “I have never been an anti-Semite and I will never be one,” he said in a recent interview with Der Spiegel. “It is bizarre that my career should now be attacked on the basis of allegations made by the Israel lobby.”
Nevertheless, the rocker’s public anti-Israel stance sparked protests in other German cities where he is scheduled to perform, such as Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin, and Munich. Despite activists and politicians calling for the concerts to be banned, however, only Frankfurt has so far decided to do so. In Munich, a legal effort was made to scrap the performance, but it ultimately failed and his May 21 concert will go ahead as planned.
“The city of Munich’s decision is good news for freedom of speech in Germany,” said Waters, noting that decision makers in Frankfurt should follow the example of their colleagues in Munich. He called for them to stop wasting taxpayers’ money on “futile legal action” and support freedom in the arts, and free speech in general.
Waters said his legal team is now examining ways to make sure the Frankfurt concert will go ahead, noting that he is fighting “for all our human rights, including the right to freedom of speech.”
“Like all the other concerts on my European tour, my concert in Frankfurt will take place. I will enforce this in court if I must. So my fans don’t have to worry,” the musician stated.