A German court has overturned a decision to cancel a concert by English rock legend Roger Waters in Frankfurt. Regional officials had argued that allowing an “anti-Semite” to perform at a venue linked to the Holocaust would offend the local Jewish community.
The ruling by Frankfurt’s administrative court on Monday said Waters had the right to access the Festhalle Frankfurt concert hall for an appearance scheduled for May 28 as contracted, German media reported.
It overturned a decision by the organizers of the Messe Frankfurt trade fair, who had refused to host the musician in late February.
German officials had justified the decision by branding Waters as one of the “world’s most influential anti-Semites,” claiming he should not appear at a venue associated with the persecution of Jews by the Nazis. In November 1938, Festhalle Frankfurt was used to detain more than 3,000 Jewish men, who were rounded up during the Kristallnacht pogroms in the city, before being sent to concentration camps.
The 79-year-old rock icon is a well-known critic of Israel and a supporter of Palestinian rights. He has been using his musical platform to advocate for these causes, but denies allegations of anti-Semitism.
His critics cite Waters’ support for the BDS movement, a campaign to boycott Israel modeled on the international movement against Apartheid South Africa, which the Israeli government claims denies the Jewish nation’s right to exist.
The Frankfurt court acknowledged that the ‘This is Not a Drill!’ tour performances include some imagery borrowed from the Nazis, and that showing those symbols at the venue may be considered “tasteless.” But they do not glorify Nazism and cannot be legally banned, it added. The German authorities may appeal the ruling.
Waters’ tour also includes concerts in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne, where some legal challenges have also been mounted.