AJC Decries Shameful Spanish Festival Ban of U.S. Jewish Singer

Aug 18, 2015, 12:37 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is appalled by a Spanish music festival's decision to ban an American Jewish singer because he refused to publicly state his position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The action by organizers of the Rokotom Sunsplash festival came only days before the popular Jewish rapper Matisyahu was scheduled to perform in Benicassim, Spain.

"The festival organizers' demand, and their explanation for dropping Matisyahu from the program are beyond reprehensible," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "We agree with Matisyahu wholeheartedly that targeting him as a Jewish performer is both 'appalling and offensive.' Indeed, it smacks of anti-Semitism, a term we don't use lightly."

Matisyahu said he was the only American Jewish performer at the festival, and that the Rokotom Sunsplash organizers "were trying to coerce me into political statements" on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) activists in Spain had urged the festival organizers to ban the American Jewish singer.

"Here is a blatant example of the extremism of the BDS movement, and, to date, the failure of a country's cultural and political leadership to stand up and speak out against this act of bigotry and bias," said Harris.

AJC wrote to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urging him to denounce what happened and make clear it does not reflect the democratic values of Spain.


SOURCE American Jewish Committee