Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Matisyahu: Anti-Semitism at Spanish festival was something I never experienced before

From the Jerusalem Post

Jewish-American reggae star Matisyahu said he felt unsafe last week performing at the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Spain, facing a crowd that included a number of people waving Palestinian flagsand flipping him the middle finger.

“People were standing on each other’s shoulders with flags giving me the middle finger.

It was intense,” Matisyahu said in an interview that appeared on the Daily Beast website on Sunday.

“It was not peaceful. It was like ‘F*** you, Matisyahu.’ I’ve never had the experience of anything like that, as a Jew or anything in my life.

“I just assumed everyone in the festival was going to be regular reggae festival-goers, so I got really nervous. I felt totally open and that anyone could do whatever they want,” he said.

Matisyahu performed at the festival a week from Saturday night after the organizers buckled under heavy pressure from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Valencia and dis-invited him when he would not come out in favor of a Palestinian state, only to re-invite him when this sparked international outrage.

The singer said that he noticed a Palestinian flag in the audience when he was standing backstage before the show, and that “about” another 20 flags came out when he stepped onto the stage.

A spokesperson for the festival told the Daily Beast that there were 20 Palestinian flags among an audience of some 15,000 people. She said she didn’t know if those making the obscene hand signal to Matisyahu were BDS activists “of if they were just pro-Palestinian.”
Matisyahu said that he “absolutely” felt he was the victim of anti-Semitism, saying he has never experienced a similar situation before.

“You hear stories. You hear things on the news, but at the end of the day, you relate back to your experience. I view it some extent as an isolated experience, but the [BDS] group seems to be making more noise. To me there’ s no doubt, maybe not for everyone involved in that organization, but there’s definitely an anti-Semitism that’s there.”

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