The decision, taken by the organisers of the Rototom Sunsplash Festival, has caused outrage.
A peace-promoting music festival in Spain has kicked the Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu off its bill after the star refused to publicly endorse a Palestinian state. The organisers of the Rototom Sunsplash Festival, held near Valencia, said that they had replaced him with Jamaican artist Etana as Saturday night headliner.
According to the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais which broke the story, the festival’s director Filippo Giunta demanded that Matisyahu (real name Matthew Miller) clarify his position on the issue of a Palestinian state and give his explicit support via a video statement.
Matisyahu has been dropped as headliner of the Spanish festival for NOT publicly declaring support for a Palestinian state
A spokesman for the festival told Newsweek over the weekend: “The fact is that right now the Matisyahu concert is canceled and in his place is going to be Etana. The festival said Matisyahu should sign (an endorsement) and Matisyahu didn't want to, and that's the matter of the cancellation.”
“Rototom Sunsplash, after having repeatedly sought dialogue in the face of the artist's unavailability to give a clear statement against war and on the right of the Palestinian people to their own state, has decided to cancel the concert,” the rep continued.
The decision has come after intense pressure exerted by the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group to drop Matisyahu, who has yet to comment publicly on the furore. While he is a supporter of the Israeli state, many of his songs are pre-occupied with the issue of peace in the Middle East.
On Monday, the World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder decried the decision, and called on Spanish authorities to punish those responsible for the decision. “This is a clear instance of anti-Semitism, and nothing else,” said Lauder in a statement to Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva.