(JTA) — Matisyahu was disinvited from a Spanish music festival because he would not publicly endorse Palestinian statehood.
The Jewish-American reggae singer was scheduled to perform Aug. 22 at the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Benicassim, near Barcelona. But his show was canceled after he refused to release a public statement backing a Palestinian state, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, which called the disinvitation a case of “anti-Semitic cowardice.”
The organizers had been pressured to disinvite Matisyahu by activists promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel, the report said.
“As Spaniards, we are ashamed of the organizers,” the Spanish federation’s statement said. “In this case, the BDS Movement employed all its anti-Semitic arsenal against the participation on Matthew Paul Miller,” using Matisyahu’s full name.
Matisyahu, a former Hasid, was the only festival performer asked to endorse a Palestinian state because he is Jewish, the federation said.
“Such acts violate fundamental human rights guaranteed by our constitution,” the statement said. According to the El Pais newspaper, other musicians threatened to cancel their performances unless Matisyahu made the declaration.
Matisyahu is not an Israeli citizen.
In a Facebook post Saturday about the decision, Rototom mentioned its “sensitivity to Palestine, its people and the occupation of its territory by Israel.”