Rabbi Shmuley: Roger Waters’ New Blood Libel

The Pig flies near the stage during a Roger Waters performance. (Photo via Getty Images)
The pig flies near the stage during a Roger Waters performance. (Photo via Getty Images)

Roger Waters wants to eat his pork, and have it too.

At his concerts he floats inflatable pigs with the Star of David on it. Yet, he insists he’s not an anti-Semite.

He compares Israel to Nazi Germany and Israel’s policies to the Holocaust. Yet, he protests he’s not a Jew-hater.

In an open letter to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Waters says he is outraged—outraged I tell you!—by allegations of anti-Semitism. “It is not, however, true that I am an anti-Semite or that I am against the Israeli people. I am neither of those. I am a critic of the policies of this government of Israel. In fact, a significant minority of the Israeli people, either on religious or on humanitarian grounds, shares my view of the Israeli government’s ill-advised policies.”

Sorry, Roger. But you fit the classic definition of a rabid Jew-hater.

Here’s why.

The essence of Anti-Semitism is the attempt to defame the Jewish people as a murderous, bloodthirsty nation who are deeply immoral and therefore pose a direct threat to civilization. As such, they must be neutralized at any cost.

At the heart of Jew-hatred is the blood libel, the false accusation that the Jews are demonic, sadistic killers. Mr. Waters should know about the blood libel because its first appearance was in Britain. Benedictine monk Thomas of Monmouth is generally credited with having popularized the blood libel in his The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written in 1173, about a young boy who was found stabbed to death. Thomas quoted a servant woman who said she witnessed the Jews lacerating the boy’s head with thorns, crucifying him, and piercing his side. While William was canonized and miracles attributed to him, the Jews of Norwich fared less well. On February 6, 1190, they were all found slaughtered in their homes, save those who escaped to the local tower where they committed mass suicide.

Of course, the original blood libel was the accusation that the Jews killed Jesus. Matthew describes how Pontius Pilate did his all to save Jesus. But those damned Jews just wanted him dead. “When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (27:24-25)

The truth, of course, is that Pontius Pilate was a tyrannical despot and mass murderer. He was Rome’s most brutal proconsul, so wicked, even by ruthless Roman standards, that Josephus, writing in Antiquities, relates that he was recalled by Rome in the year 36. The idea that he would seek permission from the Jews to put someone to death is laughable.

No, the Jews had absolutely nothing to do with the death of Jesus, perpetrated entirely by Rome, as the greatest Roman historian of the age writes explicitly: “Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate.”

Now imagine this for a moment. A nation is accused of actually killing God, snuffing out the source of all life and light. Imagine the demonic power that would be necessary to kill a being of infinite strength. And imagine the Satanic will that would have to be conjured up to even think of killing God. No nation, in the long annals of mankind, has ever been accused of something so heinous, other than the Jews. And no nation has ever paid as big a price.

The charge of Jesus-killer was on the mouths of all those who rose up to murder millions of innocent Jewish men, women, and children in pogroms, auto-da-fes, inquisitions, crusades and holocausts.

Never has so pernicious a lie ever been hurled at any people. That is, until modern times when even this lie has been outdone by the blood libel of the Jews as Nazis.

Ponder to yourself what it takes for someone like Roger Waters to accuse the Jews of being the Gestapo, the SS, Hitler himself. The Nazis, personifying the darkest evil the world has ever known, rounded up the Jews of Europe and starved them to death in ghettos, taking the living skeletal remains and packing them in cattle trains to the death camps of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Maidanek, and most infamous of all, Auschwitz. One and a half million children lost their lives to the chlorine gas of Zyklon-B. For many this was a relief. The secret film of Emanuel Ringelblum in Warsaw is just one of many archives where one bears witness to the discarded bodies of children that dotted the disease-infested ghettos of Europe. Even worse, perhaps, is the footage of small children, walking alone and barefoot in snow in the dead of winter, clad in scraps of clothing and begging for bread. I personally watched this a month ago in Warsaw, clad in many layers and still shivering. I have no idea how these children survived for even one day.

Yet Roger Waters would accuse the only democracy in the Middle East, where Arabs live with greater rights than any Arab country, of being Nazis. Women in Saudi Arabia are beaten for speaking privately in a room with unmarried men. But Mr. Waters accuses Israel. Arab children are gassed to death in Syria. But Mr. Waters condemns Israel. Gay Palestinian men are slaughtered by their neighbors in Gaza under the pretext of being collaborators. But Mr. Waters is troubled by Israel.

Mr. Waters would accuse the Jewish state—where Arabs serve on the Supreme Court, as doctors and nurses in hospitals, and as members of Parliament—as being the equivalent of a Nazi government that hunted Jews and reduced them to ashes. Waters would accuse the Jews, who give complete control of their holiest site in Jerusalem to the Muslim Waqf, of being like the Germans who snuffed six million warm Jewish bodies.

Only a wretched, pitiless, cold-blooded ignoramus could make such a fraudulent allegation. Only a man whose breast swells with hatred of Jews could fabricate so sinister a blood libel. And only a first-class fraud like Roger Waters would believe that he could lie so viciously to an educated public and think he could get away with it.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom Newsweek and The Washington Post call “the most famous rabbi in America,” has just published The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging G-d in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley. Rabbi Shmuley: Roger Waters’ New Blood Libel