Analysis comment

Roger Waters has money. Let’s hope he sues the arse out of Starmer’s trousers

Starmer’s smear against maligned rock star has veered into statements of fact. Waters can easily afford to take him to the cleaners if he chooses

Labour’s relentless smearing of musical giant Roger Waters has been relentless since right-wingers lobbying for the interests of the apartheid state of Israel decided to target him for his pro-Palestinian views and his support for the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ campaign in support of oppressed Palestinians against illegal – and condemned by the United Nations – Israeli settlements.

Labour is not alone in this. Waters has been defamed in the US and beyond, with his critics blatantly lying about the content of his rock show and even attacking him for listing murdered Dutch Jewish girl Anne Frank among the victims of bigotry and fascism whom he looks up to. No doubt, if he didn’t mention her, he’d be attacked for not mentioning a Jewish martyr.

And Waters was accused of putting a Star of David on an inflatable pig during his recent show in Berlin – an outright lie, as writer Alex Nunns has pointed out:

Waters’ dishonest attackers are using an old show, in which symbols from numerous religions were shown on a pig as a statement against religion. German authorities took no action against Waters and his recent show in London was a massive success and the venue clearly has a better understanding of art, free speech and what actual antisemitism is than the media and politicians affect to have, because they ignored the usual strident calls to cancel the show and no-platform Waters.

Waters himself appeared recently to answer the smears:

And Keir Starmer has now joined in the chorus – but despite being a barrister has done so clumsily enough that Waters could take legal action if he chose to. Starmer has published a sickening letter to Marie van der Zyl, president of the right-wing, pro-Israel Board of Deputies amplifying the smears against Waters – but, crucially, in which he tips over into describing Waters’ work as antisemitic as a statement of fact:

‘Roger Waters has clearly espoused antisemitic views to his audiences’ – this goes beyond opinion, which is important because honest opinion is a defence against legal action for defamation, but statements of fact are not protected.

No legal case is a slam dunk, even those which clearly ought to be. But Waters, with an estimated fortune of over 300 million US dollars, could easily afford to take the matter to court to find out.

The ‘Labour antisemitism’ scam has been well and truly discredited in the eyes of anyone willing to pay attention – unlike right-wing Labour MPs and their friends in the media, who still steadfastly ignore the clear and overwhelming evidence. But the same tactics are still being tried by apartheid-supporters – and taking Starmer to the cleaners in court would be a good start in putting that tactical smear in the bin of history where it belongs.

Let’s hope he does.

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