Spain: Row over canceling of Jewish US musician’s festival performance


The Jewish-American reggae singer Matisyahu was initially cancelled by the organisers from performing at the Rototom Sunsplash music festival in Benicássim in Spain on 22 August 2015 after he refused to make a statement outlining his position on Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

Due to the growing controversy over the ruling and complaints from Israel and the US, the Spanish Government – which supported the festival through local tourist offices – made a formal statement on 18 August criticising the festival’s decision. The organisers of the festival changed their minds and invited Matisyahu back to play on 22 August 2015, and have also since apologised for their actions.

Matisyahu said the organisers of the Rototom event in Castellón had tried to “coerce” him into making statement outlining his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“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,” Matisyahu wrote on his Facebook page.


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