Music label cuts ties with anti-Israel rock star Roger Waters

The German BMG’s parent company, Bertelsmann, had lent full support to Israel in the days after it declared war on Hamas.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Roger Waters is losing his music label and publisher reportedly due to his repeated fiery statements against Israel, the U.S. and Ukraine.

BMG, a subsidiary of the German Bertelsmann conglomerate, had signed a deal with the Pink Floyd cofounder in 2016, but late last year dropped what was sure to be a mega-hit of his, a new recording of his band’s 1973 classic, “Dark Side of the Moon.”

It was later published by a much smaller record label.

Entertainment website Variety last week called it “the latest in a series of culture-changing shifts” by the CEO of the company’s music division, Thomas Coesfeld, who took charge last July.

BMG’s move followed the U.S. State Department’s condemnation of the 80-year-old rocker last July, which said that he “has a long track record of using antisemitic tropes to denigrate Jewish people.” Antisemitism watchdog Campaign Against Antisemitism also released a documentary in September that quoted several of Waters’ colleagues accusing him of Jew hatred over years of acquaintance with him.

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A year ago, although he condemned Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, he also claimed to the UN Security Council that it was “not unprovoked,” which drew condemnation from both the Ukrainian and U.S. representatives present at the session.

But he is most known for stirring controversy for years by his antisemitic conspiracy theories, BDS activism, and virulently anti-Israel stance that has even been displayed in many live performances.

Waters had mentioned that he had been “fired” by BMG deep into a November interview with a music podcaster. He blamed the Anti-Defamation League for gathering “ten different organizations” who “are all Israeli hasbara organizations” for being dropped, saying they wrote a letter to Bertelsmann asking for action because he was an antisemite.

BMG’s parent company lent full support to Israel immediately after Hamas invaded Israel in a surprise attack on October 7, 2023, massacring 1,200 people, including infants and the elderly, and abducting some 250 back to the Gaza Strip.

“Bertelsmann condemns the terrorist attacks on Israel in the strongest possible terms. We stand unwaveringly by the side of our Israeli friends and partners as well as the State of Israel,” it said in a statement on October 9.

Two weeks later, along with 105 other German companies, among them the largest in the country, it took out a full-page ad in the country’s leading newspapers to condemn Hamas and the antisemitic protests that had already begun there and around the world. They expressed solidarity with Germany’s Jews and made the commitment that “Never again is now.”

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