Roger Waters faces Argentina, Uruguay hotel ban amid 'anti-Semitism' row

Roger Waters faces Argentina, Uruguay hotel ban amid 'anti-Semitism' row

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Roger Waters faces Argentina, Uruguay hotel ban amid 'anti-Semitism' row
Roger Waters has just concluded a series of concerts in Brazil. (Photo: AFP)

BUENOS AIRES - A complaint of "anti-Semitism" was filed against Roger Waters in Argentina Wednesday as the former Pink Floyd frontman, on tour, accused "the Israeli lobby" of barring him from hotels in South America.

Waters, just off several concerts in Brazil as part of his "This Is Not a Drill" tour, is scheduled to perform in Montevideo on Friday, followed by Buenos Aires next Tuesday and Wednesday.

But the British-born performer, a known critic of the Israeli government, told Argentina's Pagina 12 newspaper he has no choice but to stay in lodgings in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"Somehow these idiots of the Israeli lobby managed to co-opt all the hotels in Buenos Aires and Montevideo and organized this extraordinary boycott based on the malicious lies... about me," Pagina 12 quoted him as saying in an article published in Spanish.

Waters added: "I have not had a single anti-Semitic thought in my entire life," and insisted his criticism was of the Israeli government's actions.

Nevertheless, lawyer Carlos Broitman told AFP he had filed a complaint against Waters with a federal court, considering his visit was an opportunity for the artist to "spread his message of hate and to incite or aggravate anti-Semitism."

Argentina has Latin America's largest Jewish population, with some 250,000 individuals.

In neighboring Uruguay, the presidents of the Central Israelite Committee, Roby Schindler, and of the Jewish NGO B'Nai B'Rith, Franklin Rosenfeld, accused Rogers of being a "propagator" of Jewish hatred, in letters addressed to Sofitel and disseminated on social media.

Schindler called Waters a "misogynist, xenophobe and anti-Semitic" while Rosenfeld threatened an anti-Sofitel campaign if the hotel hosted the "anti-Semitic artist."

Approached by AFP, hotels in Montevideo declined to comment on Waters' claims that he was being excluded.

- 'Not a single anti-Semitic thought' -

Waters, one of the highest-grossing touring artists of all time, has urged a cultural boycott of Israel and has flown an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David at his concerts.

The rocker, born in Britain and a longtime New York resident, recently also appeared to cast doubt in an interview on the veracity of Israel's statements about the October 7 attack by Islamist group Hamas.

That attack, the worst in Israel's history, killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, with Hamas taking about 240 hostages back into Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

Twenty-one of those kidnapped were Argentine citizens, according to Buenos Aires.

In Gaza, some 11,500 people, also mostly civilians, have been killed in an intense Israeli bombing campaign and ground invasion in response to the attack, health officials in the Hamas-run territory have said.

Berlin police opened an investigation after Waters donned a seemingly Nazi-inspired costume at a concert in May.

He said it was a statement against fascism, but the US State Department accused Waters of using "anti-Semitic tropes to denigrate Jewish people," while the European Union's anti-Semitism official said he had belittled the Holocaust.

Waters, 80, also has performances scheduled in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador in the coming weeks.

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