JPost Exclusive: Spanish music festival weighing re-invite of Matisyahu

The organizers are expected to issue a statement to the press about the matter late Wednesday afternoon.

By
August 19, 2015 12:43
2 minute read.
Matisyahu

Matisyahu. (photo credit: ETHAN MILLER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

 
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The Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival in Spain apparently wants Matisyahu after all.

The Jerusalem Post has learned that over the last 24-hours the organizers of the festival have been in intense deliberations in order to re-invite the Jewish-American reggae-rapper back to the festival.

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The organizers are expected to issue a statement to the press about the matter late Wednesday afternoon.

Talk about re-inviting Matisyahu comes after the organizers, and Spain, have come under massive criticism for demanding that Matisyahu - an identifying Jew who in the early years of his career performed in the traditional garb of a Chabad hassid - issue a statement supporting a Palestinian state. The singer, who is neither Israeli nor makes any specific political points in his performances, didn’t do so, and his show was cancelled.
Spain branch of BDS to Jpost : Matisyahu justified Israeli crimes

Ironically, the festival - taking place in Benicasim, Valencia - boasts on its website of promoting dialogue as a tool for resolving conflicts.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry, the country's major political parties, and much of the Spanish press has sharply criticized the decision to disinvite Matisyahu. On Wednesday the US embassy in Spain termed the cancellation “troubling.”

On Tuesday the Spanish Foreign Ministry condemned the cancellation, saying that it rejects boycott campaigns and any sign of anti-Semitism.



"Imposing a public declaration (from Matisyahu) puts into question the principle of non-discrimination on which all plural and diverse societies are based," according to a statement put out by the ministry.

El Pais, a leading Spanish newspaper often critical of Israeli policies, editorialized on Tuesday that the cancellation was tantamount to “unacceptable discrimination.”

“It is absolutely unacceptable that in the Spain of the 21st century, individuals and organizations can still demand that somebody explain themselves in ideological terms in order to be able to exercise their profession, and takes us back to the dark days when everybody was required to prove their religiosity and purity of blood,” the editorial read.

“Anti-Semitism and discrimination on the grounds of ideology cannot be tolerated and must be stood up to. Criticism of Israel’s policies and defense of the Palestinians cannot be used as cover for systematic persecution of those who hold different views, or because they are Jewish. Spain’s politicians need to speak out about this scandal that questions this country’s commitment to free speech and thought.”

The festival, according to the paper, is funded with public money.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain has said that it is considering taking the festival to court over its actions.
                
The discussion to re-invite Matisyahu is the latest in a number of flipflops by the organizers.

Facing intense BDS pressure to cancel the performance, the organizers on August 11 wrote on the festival's Facebook page that the fact that Matisyahu supports Israel “does not in itself mean he backs their policies of violence against the Palestinians, so we did not consider it necessary to exclude him from the festival on these grounds.”

But after facing more BDS pressure, the organizers buckled and on Saturday said they were dropping him because he was unwilling to “clearly speak out against the [2014 Gaza] war and the right of Palestinians to have their own state.”

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