A BDS poster quoting calling for "No peace with Matisyahu".
(photo credit: BDS)
Following the news that the Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival had reinvited American Jewish musician Matisyahu to perform on August 22 as originally planned, several influential Jewish organizations, as well as the organization representing Spanish Jewry, were quick to welcome a subsequent apology while insisting that it provide an impetus for introspection.
In a joint statement World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) President Isaac Querub Caro said that the decision was both "significant and welcome."
"We thank the organizers for realizing their mistake and for taking the necessary steps to remedy it. However, lessons must be learned from this affair," they declared.
Spain branch of BDS to Jpost : Matisyahu justified Israeli crimes
Both had previously called the ideological litmus test placed on Matisyahu anti-Semitic.
"The organizers have done the honorable thing and apologized. However, this affair leaves us with a sour taste in our mouths," Lauder said.
"It was yet another example of how anti-Jewish attitudes, dressed up as vicious and unfair criticism of Israel, are still widespread, and are especially prevalent in a number of far-left global political parties. This affair also showed that the BDS movement is rotten at its core: Although pretending to fight racism, it is fuelled by anti-Semitism. It’s time people realize that and stop listening to this vicious form of propaganda.”
Speaking on behalf of the local Jewish community, Caro said that it was hoped that "that lessons have been learned for the future."
"We need to stand together and work together in the fight against all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and hatred. This includes avoiding discriminating against people who may have a different opinion than oneself on certain issues. The Rototom Sunsplash should be about celebrating music and not about politics. I am glad that the festival organizers have realized that.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center said that the entire story made it "crystal clear" that "deeply rooted anti-Semitism" is fueling the BDS movement.
"Camouflaged as 'anti-Zionism' or ostensibly legitimate criticism of Israeli government policy, BDS is really a modern variant of the age-old scourge of anti-Semitism and the sooner that fact is acknowledged, the sooner BDS will be defeated," Efraim Zuroff, the head of the center's Israeli office, told the Post.
At some BDS events, such as one protest in South Africa in 2013, rhetoric against Israel has spilled over into outright anti-Semitism.
Demonstrating against an appearance by an Israeli jazz musician at Johannesburg University, students began chanting "shoot the Jew."
Despite condemnations by both University Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies at the time, BDS coordinator Muhammed Desai defended the call to shoot Jews and told a student newspaper that the word Jews was not meant in a literal fashion.
The call to kill Jews was “just like you would say kill the Boer at [a] funeral during the eighties [and] it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime," Desai was quoted as saying.