Over the weekend, The Rototom Sunsplash Festival, based in Spain, cancelled Matisyahu’s performance on August 22nd after he refused to make a statement saying that he endorsed a Palestinian state. Matisyahu is Jewish. Now, the festival has invited Matisyahu back to perform, saying that they felt pressure from a Spain chapter of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) an organization that boycotts Israeli goods and sanctions on Israel, since they believe that Matisyahu is a Zionist and that he defends “a state — Israel — that practices apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”
While Matisyahu has not commented on being invited back to perform, he has issued a statement on his Facebook about the festival’s initial decision.
“The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. 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. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. – Blessed Love, Matis”