السبت , يونيو 6 2020

Festival invites Jewish singer back

Jewish-American singer Matisyahu

Matisyahu says he has tried to keep politics out of his music

A Jewish-American singer whose concert in Spain was cancelled after he refused to share his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been invited back to perform.

Rap and reggae singer Matisyahu had been due to appear at the Rototom Sunsplash festival this week.

Organisers said they “respect the Jewish community and ask for sincere apologies for what happened”.

Matisyahu has not said whether he will accept their offer to perform.

In a post on his Facebook page, Matisyahu said the pressure from the festival organisers to air his views had been “appalling and offensive”.

A drive to cancel Matisyahu’s appearance was launched by the Valencia branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The pro-Palestinian group calls for a boycott of Israeli goods until it complies with international law – Israel calls the campaign misleading and anti-Semitic.

BDS Valencia said that, because of some of Matisyahu’s lyrics and his previous comments on Israeli affairs, his values did not tally with those of the festival, namely “peace, equality, human rights and social justice”.

‘Cowardly and unfair’

On Wednesday, officials from Rototom Sunsplash said that the decision to cancel his appearance was because of “threats and coercion promoted by Valencia’s BDS that could seriously disrupt the normal functioning of the festival“.

They originally said they had cancelled his slot 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”.

The singer, born in Pennsylvania, said he did not insert politics into his music, and that he wanted it to be accessible to all.

The Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities said the move was “cowardly, unfair and discriminatory”.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the decision was a “clear instance of anti-Semitism”.

Late on Tuesday, the Spanish foreign ministry said the request from the festival was an “act that violates the conscience” and “put into question the principle of non-discrimination”.

Israel welcomed the Spanish government’s stance.

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