Matisyahu was set to perform at the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival in Spain when something odd happened. Apparently, the event director, Filippo Giunta, asked the Jewish singer on Thursday to issue a “signing statement or video” that expressed in a “very clear” way that Palestinians are entitled to their own state. This was occasioned by other unnamed artists (cough, bullshit, cough) who threatened to not take the stage if Matisyahu was allowed to perform and by local BDS activists who accused Matisyahu of being a “Zionist” who supports the practice of “apartheid and ethnic cleansing.” There is no indication that any other artists were required issue such a signing statement. It seems as if the only reason Matisyahu was asked to do so was because he is Jewish and, like many Jews, he has visited Israel.
In the past, BDS activists have gone to great pains to insist that their movement has nothing against Jews. They point to token Jewish groups that support their purported aims. And yet here we see that BDS activists targeted Matisyahu solely because he is Jewish. There are no indications that any other artists performing at the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival were asked to issue a similar statement. We also know that while Matisyahu has visited Israel on several occasions, he is not a citizen nor is he particularly political. This precedent means that any Jewish artist, by mere dint of their Jewish identity, may be asked to swear a loyalty oath to Palestine or risk the wrath of the BDS shitheads. Now, it should be noted that there is a word that describes when you hold out Jews to standards that no one else has to meet and while I am loathe to use it, there is no better time to state that this incident and those that occasioned it have manifested text-book anti-Semitism. So yeah. Fuck you Filippo Giunta and fuck you Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival.
Matisyahu of course refused and this little incident has not affected any of the rest of his extensive European tour. Matisyahu’s latest album is Akeda and he will be spending the rest of 2015 touring in Europe and North America in places not under the control of douchebag, Jew hating “activistas.”
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So this event was trying to take a stand against supposed “apartheid and ethnic cleansing” by trying to make the only Jewish performer at said event state his opposition to this alleged policy by the Israeli government?
And exactly what kind of policy were the event organizers exercising with this clearly and specifically targeted strong-arming of a performer who was just there to sing?
The organizers of this event should take good, long, hard look at themselves (not to mention the track record of the Spanish government in regards to how it has treated Jews over the centuries) before presuming to pass judgment on anyone else!
Dear David A
How much have you read of the Pais Valencia BDS’s statements? May I suggest that you read carefully everything they write, and if you can find anything that is a hint of anti-Semitism, including their explicit and emphatic denials, please let me know.
As for those people who say that despite their denials, they are anti-
Semites, I consider those people bigots, who are reminiscent of all the anti-Semites in history who said that the Jews say one thing, but mean another. I won’t bother arguing with bigots like that.
Those who say that the Pais Valencia boycotters are overreacting, or who oppose artistic and cultural boycotts in principle, are something else entirely. I understand and am sympathetic to their arguments. I have zero problem with the Israel Philharmonic playing Wagner, although I respect those who find that insensitive. But David, what do you think of a singer like Ariel Zilber?
I have no problem with those who call for a boycott of a Kahanist. He can sing what he likes, but that doesn’t mean I have to appear with him or see his concert.
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