|Matisyahu in Jerusalem|
Matisyahu Ousted from Festival
The Jewish-American reggae singer Matisyahu, scheduled to perform Aug. 22 at the Rototom Sunsplash festival near Barcelona [Spain], had his show canceled after he refused to release a public statement backing a Palestinian state.
The organizers had been pressured to disinvite Matisyahu by activists promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, even though Matisyahu is not an Israeli citizen.
Boycott of Matisyahu Proves BDS Is Anti-Semitic - Herb Keinon
The following lyrics from his 2004 hit “King Without a Crown” will not be heard at the Spanish festival that boasts of promoting peace, harmony and understanding:
“Say sometimes the world is dark and I just can’t see / With these, demons surround all around to bring me down to negativity / But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe / I’ll stand on my own two feet / Won’t be brought down on one knee.”
Statement from Matisyahu:
"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. 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. As musicians that is what we seek.
- Blessed Love, Matis"
The New Racists: Jew Hate - Douglas Murray
The treatment of the reggae star Matisyahu is something new. For Matisyahu is not an Israeli -- he is an American.
Spain has its own border issues, as nearly every country in the world does. Perhaps Spanish performers in the classical and pop world should henceforth be quizzed about their political attitudes before they are allowed to perform abroad? The whole question of Catalonia, for instance, is deeply fraught and fought over in Spain, with exceedingly strong views over independence on all sides. Maybe the rest of the world should demand that all musicians from Spain sign a statement or make a video supporting Catalan independence if they are to be allowed to perform in public? We could go back and forth in our allegiances of course -- and make the Spanish artistic community jump to our every whim and U-turn. Perhaps then we could decide that citizens of other countries could be made to jump through our whims on the Spanish border questions too?
Of course, such a course of action would be obscene, as it would be with any other country. But it is always instructive that only one country and one geopolitical question is addressed in this way.
To my knowledge Turkish artists are nowhere in the world asked to condemn their country's illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus -- an occupation, lasting more than four decades, of half an EU member state.
ADL: 'clear case of anti-Semitic discrimination'
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned the Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival in Spain on Tuesday, calling their cancellation of American-Jewish artist Matisyahu's performance "a clear case of anti-Semitic discrimination."
"This appears to be a clear case of anti-Semitic discrimination - which is illegal in Spain - and we expect Spain to uphold its non-discrimination laws.”
ADL has reached out to Javier Moliner Gargallo, President of the County Council of Castellón, which had provided financial support to the reggae festival, and requested that Mr. Moliner insist that the festival reverse its discriminatory decision or have its financial support revoked.
Last summer, ADL urged the Spanish government to take action on anti-Semitic incitement emanating from various anti-Israel demonstrations. The League’s recent poll in 100 countries found that 29 percent of those surveyed in Spain harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.