Matisyahu to Play Spanish Festival After BDS Ban

August 21, 2015  

Jewish American singer Matisyahu confirmed his participation in a Spanish music festival on Friday, two days after organizers
apologized for cancelling his appearance following pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, according to AFP.

The decision by the Rototom SunSplash festival to pull Matisyahu, who fuses reggae and hip-hop with Jewish influences, from its line-up was criticized by Jewish groups, the Spanish government and by the US and Israeli embassies in Spain.

The incident occurred after a local branch of the pro-Palestinian movement accused the 36-year-old of being a “Zionist” who supports the practice of “apartheid and ethnic cleansing.” 

When Matisyahu did not reply to festival organizers’ questions about whether he was in favor of a Palestinian state, they cancelled his appearance in a decision denounced by the Spanish government.

On Wednesday, festival organizers backtracked and apologized to the singer, reinviting him to perform at the week-long festival – one of Europe’s largest reggae festivals which is held in Benicassim in eastern Spain.

“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,” organzsers said in a statement on Wednesday. Pais Valencia, meanwhile, has claimed that its actions were not BDS because it allegedly does not target individuals, only organizations. 

Matisyahu, who had initially denounced the cancellation as “appalling” on Facebook, accepted the new invitation, a statement from the organizers said on Friday.

“Matisyahu has confirmed his participation in the 22nd annual Rototom SunSplash festival and will perform on the main stage on Saturday as originally planned,” it said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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