(JNS.org) The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival’s cancellation of an Aug. 22 show by the American Jewish reggae star Matisyahu a “clear case of anti-Semitic discrimination.” Matisyahu’s performance in Spain was nixed after he refused to accede to the festival’s demand to endorse a Palestinian state.
“Was a Jewish musician singled out, based on his religion, to undergo a political litmus test?” ADL National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt said Monday. “Was he then denied the opportunity to perform for reasons completely unrelated to his musical talents? This appears to be a clear case of anti-Semitic discrimination—which is illegal in Spain—and we expect Spain to uphold its non-discrimination laws.”
Matisyahu said on Facebook, “The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements.”