(This article is published in Mondoweiss.)
Jewish American rapper Matisyahu (the stage name of Matthew Paul Miller) was disinvited from a music festival in Spain because of his support for Israel. Organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash European Reggae Festival say they were pressured to cancel the performance by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement—an international movement that, through peaceful economic means, seeks to pressure Israel to abide by international law and ends its illegal military occupation of the Palestinians.
Denying accusations that the decision to cancel Matisyahu’s performance was motivated in any way by anti-Semitism, Spanish BDS activists maintain that they objected to Matisyahu’s “incitement to racial hatred and his defense of Israeli war crimes, including in his lyrics,” and “his hateful and racist views that dehumanize Palestinians and justify their oppression.”
Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), defended the decision to boycott the musician.
Barghouti told Mondoweiss the decision to cancel Matisyahu’s performance is “because of his record of hateful and racial incitement and his defense of Israeli war crimes and human rights violations, all of which directly contradict the human rights focus and spirit of the festival.”
“Matisyahu’s ethnicity, faith and other identity attributes are absolutely irrelevant to the campaign waged by human rights defenders in Spain against his show,” Barghouti explained.