The Board have welcomed the apology from the organisers of a Spanish reggae festival to Jewish reggae star Matisyahu.
Matisyahu has been re-invited to perform at the Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival in Valencia having previously been dropped because he refused explicitly to back a Palestinian state as a pre-condition to performing.
In a statement released yesterday, the festival said: “Rototom publicly apologises for cancelling Matisyahu’s concert and announced that he has been invited to perform on Saturday August 22 at the festival.”
The statement continued: “We respect the Jewish community and ask sincere apologies for what happened”, adding that cancelling Matisyahu’s performance was “a mistake and a result of pressures, threats and coercion from by Valencian Country BDS”.
Matisyahu had been the only musician due to be appearing at the festival required to make a public statement on Palestinian rights.
A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “We welcome the apology of the festival organisers to Matisyahu over his disgraceful treatment and their decision to reinvite him to perform. We particularly welcome their admission that the initial decision was influenced by the strong-arm tactics and intimidation of the BDS movement in Valencia/ Spain. It is crucial that the organisers of festivals and events retain their independence and artistic integrity by standing up to the bullies.”
The Spanish government had previously issued a statement rejecting “all manifestations of antisemitism”, adding that the country “reiterates its rejection of Israel boycott campaigns”.
The Board will be meeting a representative of the Spanish Embassy in London to convey our concern over discrimination and BDS. The Spanish government held discussions on the subject with our Spanish counterparts, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain.