Spain condemns cancellation of Matisyahu concert; Rototom Festival’s Apology to Matisyahu

Jewish groups welcome Rototom Festival's apology to Matisyahu.

Matisyahu - Champion

The Spanish government condemned Spanish reggae Rototom Sunsplash festival’s decision to cancel a concert by an American Jewish musician, Matisyahu, after he failed to reply to a demand he clarify his position on Palestinian statehood.

Spain said it rejected boycott campaigns and any sign of anti-Semitism, while reiterating its support for an independent Palestinian state through bilateral negotiations.

“Imposing a public declaration (from Matisyahu), puts into question the principle of non-discrimination on which all plural and diverse societies are based, ” the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Formal condemnation issued after a Spanish reggae festival enacts discriminatory policy, axing the sole Jewish American act for his “Zionism.”

The Spanish festival issued its own reasoning for the cancellation. “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 to their own state, has decided to cancel the concert, ” they said in a statement.

World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder and Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) President Isaac Querub Caro today hailed a statement from the organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Spain apologizing to the American Jewish singer Matisyahu and re-inviting him to play his gig later this week.

“This is a very significant and welcome decision, and 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, ” Lauder and Querub declared.

WJC President Lauder, who had raised the matter in letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday and urged Spanish politicians to speak out, said today: “The organizers have done the honorable thing and apologized. However, this affair leaves us with a sour taste in our mouths. 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.”Following pressure from the anti-Israel BDS movement, the Rototom festival disinvited Matisyahu after he refused to sign a declaration stating his unequivocal support for the Palestinians. He was the only artist who was asked to sign such a declaration. Both the WJC and the FCJE expressed outrage over the decision, calling it “anti-Semitic” and an infringement of anti-discrimination laws.

WJC President Lauder, who had raised the matter in letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday and urged Spanish politicians to speak out, said today: “The organizers have done the honorable thing and apologized. However, this affair leaves us with a sour taste in our mouths. 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.”

FCJE President Isaac Querub said today: “On behalf of the Spanish Jewish community, I thank the organizers for their statement, and we hope 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.”

 

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