Robert F Kennedy Jr defends Roger Waters against ‘high priests of totalitarianism’ in Berlin antisemitism row

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Controversial anti-vaxxer and 2024 presidential hopeful Robert F Kennedy Jr has thrown his weight behind another provocateur, tweeting support at Roger Waters as the former Pink Floyd singer faces fresh accusations of antisemitism.

“Roger,” Mr Kennedy, the son of Robert F Kennedy and nephew of President John F Kennedy, tweeted on Saturday. “You are the global hero Orwell had in mind when he said ‘In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” The high priests of the totalitarian orthodoxies are trying to silence you with censorship, gaslighting and defamation. Please keep speaking truth to power!”

The tweet followed on the heels of an announcement by German police this week that an investigation had been opened into Waters as a result of complaints from his earlier May performances in Berlin. The singer, who has been vocal in his support for Palestine and opposition to Israeli regime policies, wears clothing evocative of Nazi attire during his latest tour and feigns firing a machine gun into the crowd.

Waters is subsequently being investigated for incitement, police said this week.

”We have received information from the public including pictures and videos which according to the external appearance are suitable for fulfilling the offense of incitement to hatred,” a spokeswoman told CNN on Friday.

”The State Security Department at the Berlin State Criminal Police Office has initiated a criminal investigation procedure regarding the suspicion of incitement of the people (140 Paragraph 4 of the German criminal Code),” a police statement to the outlet reads.

”The context of the clothing worn is deemed capable of approving, glorifying or justifying the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime in a manner that violates the dignity of the victims and thereby disrupts public peace.”

Waters has repeatedly asserted he has no problem with Jewish people, rather the Israeli government – but Mr Kennedy’s tweeted support for the singer called to mind the politician’s own history regarding accusations of antisemitism.

Just last year, Mr Kennedy – who announced his longshot bid for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination in Boston in April – apologised for remarks made at a rally organized by his anti-vaccine non-profit, Children’s Health Defense. He has been a visible and highly vocal critic of the coronavirus jab, and the group has been accused of spreading misinformation.

“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” he told the crowd at the DC rally in January 2022.

He sent a tweet days later backtracking, writing: “I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank, especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors. My intention was to use examples of past barbarism to show the perils from new technologies of control. To the extent my remarks caused hurt, I am truly and deeply sorry.”

At the time he told The Independent: “I was making a point that modern technology leads to totalitarian regimes, and gave several examples. Which is a totally different point.

“I also apologised for making any reference to Anne Frank, but I never compared anyone to the Nazis.”

An investigation by The Associated Press found that Mr Kennedy had “invoked the specter of Nazis and the Holocaust when talking about public health measures meant to save lives during the pandemic, such as requiring masks or vaccine mandates” – including “a video that showed Fauci in a Hitler mustache” and a speech that “obliquely compared public health measures put in place by governments around the world to Nazi propaganda meant to scare people into abandoning critical thinking.”

German police say they are investigating singer Roger Waters, 79, for incitement to hatred (AP)
German police say they are investigating singer Roger Waters, 79, for incitement to hatred (AP)

Mr Kennedy’s press team did not immediately return a request for comment from The Independent on Sunday.

Waters, similarly, has been defending himself against accusations of antisemitism for years. He issued a Facebook statement on Saturday.

“The elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms,” Waters wrote on Facebook. “Attempts to portray those elements as something else are disingenuous and politically motivated. The depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980.

“I have spent my entire life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I see it. When I was a child after the war, the name of Anne Frank was often spoken in our house, she became a permanent reminder of what happens when fascism is left unchecked. My parents fought the Nazis in World War II, with my father paying the ultimate price. Regardless of the consequences of the attacks against me, I will continue to condemn injustice and all those who perpetrate it.”