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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » JEWISH REGGAE ARTIST MATISYAHU PERFORMS AT THE ROTOTOM REGGAE FESTIVAL AS PROTESTERS WAVE PALESTINIAN FLAGS!

JEWISH REGGAE ARTIST MATISYAHU PERFORMS AT THE ROTOTOM REGGAE FESTIVAL AS PROTESTERS WAVE PALESTINIAN FLAGS!

Matisyahu performing @ the 2015 Rototm Reggae Festival in Spain.

Matisyahu performing @ the 2015 Rototm Reggae Festival in Spain.

Despite protesters, Jewish reggae star also receives warm reception from some in crowd, sings about Jerusalem

Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu’s performance at a Spanish reggae festival late Saturday night was met with catcalls from some pro-Palestinian protesters, but the concert passed off peacefully after a tense build-up.

The Rototom Sunsplash festival in Spain retracted its decision to disinvite Matisyahu after he failed to comply with the demand of publicly endorsing Palestinian statehood, an ultimatum that incurred the organizers accusations of anti-Semitism.

Matisyahu, who fuses reggae and hip-hop with Jewish influences in his songs, was asked to perform at the festival in Benicassim in eastern Spain. But a local branch of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement campaigned against the performance, accusing Matisyahu of being anti-Palestinian and a “Zionist” who supports the practice of “apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”

After Matisyahu finally took to the stage, dozens of people whistled in disapproval, with some waving Palestinian flags and chanting “out, out,” according to Reuters.

Despite the negative calls against him, many others in the audience of hundreds applauded Matisyahu.

“Whoever you are and wherever you come from raise a flag and wave it in the air,” Matisyahu called to the crowd before his closing song. “Let music be your flag,” he added.

The Jewish musician sang a poignant reggae rendition of one of his most popular songs “Jerusalem.”

Matisyahu in action!

Matisyahu in action!

Before the festival began, organizers asked the singer to declare if he was in favor of a Palestinian state and when they got no reply they cancelled his show, sparking an outcry from Jewish groups and the Israeli embassy in Spain.

“Rototom SunSplash would like to publicly apologise to Matisyahu for having cancelled his concert and invite him to perform at the festival next Saturday August 22, as was initially programmed in the lineup,” organizers said in a statement.

“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.”

Spain’s foreign ministry late on Tuesday condemned the move by the festival and reiterated Madrid’s opposition to boycott campaigns against Israel.

“Demanding a public declaration only from him is a way of acting that violates his conscience and, if it was decided based on Matisyahu’s Jewish identity, puts into question the principle of non-discrimination,” it said in a statement.

Matisyahu — whose real name is Matthew Miller — has appeared on stage wearing traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing, although in his latest album he lost his beard and his ultra-Orthodox trappings.

 

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