With Palestinian flags in background, Matisyahu vows: 'Jerusalem, if I forget you'
An American Jewish musician who was controversially barred from a reggae festival in Spain before being invited back to play performed to catcalls from some pro-Palestinian protesters on Sunday, though the concert passed off peacefully after a tense build-up.
Amid a packed audience at the event in Benicassim, near Valencia in eastern Spain, dozens of people whistled in disapproval as Matisyahu took to the stage in the early hours of Sunday, with some waving Palestinian flags and chanting "out, out".
But many others in the audience of hundreds applauded the musician as the concert got under way.
"Whoever you are and wherever you come from raise a flag and wave it in the air," Matisyahu called to the crowd before his closing song. "Let music be your flag," he added, after dancing his way through his 45-minute set.
Faced With Sea of Palestinian Flags, Matisyahu Belts Out ‘Jerusalem’
BDS bigots had yet another trick to unveil as the star ascended to the stage on Saturday night.
Not to be cowed however, it was the spirited Matisyahu who had the last laugh.
Far from boycotting the reggae artist’s gig, the “hate Israel” crowd showed up en masse. And they came bearing flags, immense Palestinian flags, which they waved with gusto from every corner of the 20,000-strong crowd.
As Matisyahu took the mike and looked out to the audience, he was presented with an unmistakably hostile message. It was clear that those who sought to have him banished stood before him in protest. Then the catcalls started, with some chanting, “out, out.” It might easily have been unnerving, disorienting.
But then he began to sing about Jerusalem. “Jerusalem, if I forget you, fire not gonna come from me tongue. Jerusalem, if I forget you, let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.”
And then, as he bounced and twirled around the stage, the most defiant lyrics of all: “3, 000 years with no place to be, and they want me to give up my milk and honey.”
“Tonight was difficult but special,” he later posted on Facebook, along with a clip of the performance.
The power of Jewish indignation - Caroline Glick
Matisyahu’s disinvitation prompted a worldwide Jewish outcry. The Foreign Ministry registered a complaint with the Spanish government.
Every major American Jewish organization and several European Jewish organizations condemned the blatant discrimination against Matisyahu. On Tuesday, Spain’s main newspaper, El Pais, condemned the festival’s anti-Semitism. The Spanish government followed hours later.
On Wednesday, the festival organizers issued a groveling apology to Matisyahu and officially reinstated his invitation to perform.
The lesson of the Matisyahu affair is that it is possible to defeat these haters. The festival organizers discriminated against Matisyahu because they feared the Jew-hating mob more than they valued his artistry. They are now groveling at his feet because the pushback they received from world Jewry for their behavior knocked them to their knees. When Jews stand up to anti-Semites, the anti-Semites back down.