(photo credit: ETHAN MILLER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)
After being re-invited, American Jewish reggae star Matisyahu confirmed he will perform at a Spanish music festival.
On Friday, two days after the Rototom SunSplash Festival apologized for canceling his performance in the face of pressure from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Matisyahu announced on Facebook that he will perform at the festival on Saturday.
In his Facebook post, the singer wrote, “Today music wins. Freedom of expression wins.” Describing his feeling that he “was being used as a pawn for political convenience,” Matisyahu explained that, “It is my deep conviction however that acceptance and the ability for rebirth allow us to move forward.” He added that the “incredible outpouring of worldwide support from fans and organizations who rose up as one to protest the intrusion of politics into a border-less celebration of music has been humbling.”
Matisyahu is not Israeli, but was apparently singled out by BDS activists because he was the only Jewish performer on the festival’s roster. Last week, after he ignored requests that he issue a statement declaring his support for Palestinian statehood, the festival cancelled his act.
That sparked condemnation from Jewish organizations, the government of Spain and Matisyahu himself, who wrote on his Facebook page Monday that the festival organizers’ behavior had been “appalling and offensive.”
In a lengthy apology posted on Facebook Wednesday, festival organizers wrote, “Rototom Sunsplash rejects anti-Semitism and any form of discrimination towards the Jewish community.“
The festival said it had cancelled Matisyahu’s performance under pressure from the BDS movement, citing a “campaign of pressure, coercion and threats” against it that stoked fears the festival would be disrupted and “prevented the organization from reasoning clearly.”