#BDSfail: Following widespread condemnation, Spanish festival reverses decision to disinvite Matisyahu

view videoRetraction comes after Spanish gov’t condemned reggae festival’s anti-Semitic axing of Jewish singer, after he ignored demands to publicly accept Palestinian state.

By i24news


The Rototom Sunsplash festival in Spain retracted its decision to disinvite Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu after he failed to comply with the demand of publicly endorsing Palestinian statehood, an ultimatum that incurred the organizers accusations of anti-Semitism.

Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu – Photo: AFP

Matisyahu, who fuses reggae and hip-hop with Jewish influences in his songs, had been due to perform at the weeklong Rototom SunSplash festival, one of Europe’s largest reggae festivals, in Benicassim in eastern Spain on Saturday.

But a local branch of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement campaigned against the performance, accusing Matisyahu of being anti-Palestinian and a “Zionist” who supports the practice of “apartheid and ethnic cleansing”.

Festival organizers then asked the singer to declare if he was in favor of a Palestinian state and when they got no reply they cancelled his show, sparking an outcry from Jewish groups and the Israeli embassy in Spain.

“Rototom SunSplash would like to publicly apologize to Matisyahu for having cancelled his concert and invite him to perform at the festival next Saturday August 22, as was initially programmed in the lineup,” organizers said in a statement.

“Rototom SunSplash admits that it made a mistake, due to… the campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed by the BDS Pais Valencia which made it think that the normal functioning of the festival could be threatened.”

Spain’s foreign ministry late on Tuesday condemned the move by the festival and reiterated Madrid’s opposition to boycott campaigns against Israel.

“Demanding a public declaration only from him is a way of acting that violates his conscience and, if it was decided based on Matisyahu’s Jewish identity, puts into question the principle of non-discrimination,” it said in a statement.

Matisyahu — whose real name is Matthew Miller — has appeared on stage wearing traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing, although in his latest album he lost his beard and his ultra-Orthodox trappings.


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