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BDS boots Matisyahu from Spanish festival, causing outrage
In a statement released on Facebook, Jewish-American artist says he was appalled and offended by incident, questioning whether non-Jewish artists where forced to make political clarifications as well.
Jewish groups and musicians protested on Monday after a Spanish reggae festival cancelled a concert by American Jewish musician Matisyahu, for rejecting demands to clarify his position on Palestinian statehood.

 

 

Matisyahu, who fuses reggae, hip-hop and rock with Jewish influences in his songs, had been due to perform next Saturday at the week-long Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival at Benicassim near Valencia in eastern Spain.

 

But after pressure from the local supporters of the movement to boycott and back sanctions against Israel over its policies towards Palestinians, the organizers announced over the weekend that they were cancelling his appearance.

 

"Rototom Sunsplash, after having repeatedly sought dialogue in the face of the artist's unavailability to give a clear statement against war and on the right of the Palestinian people to their own state, has decided to cancel the concert," they said in a statement.

 

The Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities condemned the decision as cowardly, unjust and discriminatory, saying that Matisyahu had been asked to take a political position because he was Jewish when this was not required of other performers.

 

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder expressed outrage at the decision, urging Spanish authorities "to take appropriate action against those responsible for it."

 

Matisyahu released his reaction to the events in a facebook post on Monday, saying "The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music."

 

The statement continued to say, "Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people."

 

The Valencia section of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign had launched a public campaign for Matisyahu's performance to be cancelled, saying he was a "lover of Israel" and demanding he make a public statement on his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

The moves against Matisyahu had led some other participants to cancel their appearances at the festival, according to press reports.

 

Reuters contributed to this report.

 


פרסום ראשון: 08.18.15, 14:51
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