Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spain: Reggae Rototom festival cancels US Jew performance due to BDS campaign

Via Elder of Ziyon reader Yenta Press.

Update: 20 Minutes has confirmed (Aug. 15) that the festival caved in to strong pressures and has cancelled Matisyahu's performance. The BDS campaigners are gloating about the decision. The American reggea rapper will be replaced by Jamaican musician Etana. No solidarity shown for the Jewish musician... Article in Spanish here. and in Hebrew here.

Think Spain reported (Aug. 14):

FIVE artists have boycotted the famous Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival in Benicàssim (Castellón province) after finding out the Jewish band Matisyahu would be playing, since they object to the front man's views on the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Three participants in the Social Forum area – association Pallasos en Rebeldía, María Carrión from the group FiSahara and Saharan activist Hassanna Aalia - cinema director at the Film Festival part of the Rototom, Fernando García-Guereta, and an artist from the Showcase music area, Saharan rapper Yslem Son of the Desert, have pulled out.

They are all members of the Boycott, Non-Investment and Sanctions for Israel pressure group based in the Comunidad Valenciana and have written an open letter to other artists taking part in the festival on Saturday, August 22, calling for them to 'reconsider'.

Matisyahu, fronted by the American-Israeli artist of the same name, 'has taken part in pro-Sionist festivals', has 'publicly stated he is on Israel's side' and that 'Palestine does not exist', according to the campaigners.

Another reason for their decision to boycott the festival is the airing of the documentary Congo beat the drum, starring two musicians from Tel Aviv, since the show had 'benefited from advertising by the Sionist State' and from an award at the Jerusalem Film Festival, which had been financed by the State of Israel.
“We need to boycott the Israeli strategy of using arts and entertainment to whitewash the ethnic cleansing of the people of Palestine and present an abhorrent situation in legal and human rights terms as 'normal',” the association's open letter reads.

Rototom Sunsplash organisers responded publicly via the festival's Facebook site, saying the event has 'a 22-year history of respecting peace, justice and human rights' and of 'encouraging dialogue as the best way of resolving conflict'.

They say they condemn 'anyone who brings with them messages of intolerance, hatred or violence'.
“We have never invited anyone to the festival who intends to spread hate messages, and this criteria has been used in exactly the same way when inviting Matisyahu here.

“In light of the controversy, we have contacted Matisyahu to find out his views on the Israel-Palestine conflict and on Sionism.

“His response was very patent, given that he has never been a political activist and does not bring his personal views to his performances or song lyrics. Read more.

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