Spain - Pressure From BDS Forces Cancellation Of Performance By Jewish Artist Matisyahu At Peace Festival
Spain - Amid growing pressure from the Valencia chapter of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), organizers for the annual reggae music festival Rototom Sunsplash in Benicassim cancelled on Saturday a scheduled performance by Jewish superstar Matisyahu.
ELPAIS.com (http://bit.ly/1Kp4Qel) reports that BDS mounted an aggressive campaign during the week leading up to Matisyahu’s appearance, most notably on the singer’s Facebook page where he was repeatedly accused of being a “Zionist” and who, through his continued support for Israel, supports “apartheid and ethnic cleansing” against the people of Palestine.
In a Saturday statement, Rototom director, Filippo Giunta, explained that organizers worked tirelessly to resolve the situation, but that their efforts fell short after Miatisyahu failed respond to a request by organizers on Thursday that he appear in a video stating that he believes Palestine is entitled to its own state.
Giunta explained that because this year’s theme of the 22nd version of Rototom is “Peace Revolution,” organizers simply could not risk the “unwarranted virulence” which has resulted from the “attacks received in recent days.”
Reps for BDS, which forced the cancellation of five other of the festival’s 250 artists and speakers, called Matisyahu a “lover of Israel” and charged the singer with having led “pro-Zionist festivals” that promoted that “Palestine doesn’t exist.”
BDS was also highly critical of Rototom for inviting Matisyahu.
In a Facebook response attempting to clarify the organization’s stance, Giunta cited the group’s storied history in promoting peace through dialogue, and thus, its invitation to Matisyahu and other artists.
“Support for Israel does not mean support for its policy of aggression towards the people of Palestine,” Giunta said. “and because this year’s theme is ‘Peace Revolution,’ we thought it timely that we invite the singer. We did not want to exclude someone for this reason.”
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