Spanish festival re-invites Matisyahu after canceling show. 19 August 04:28
MADRID (AP) – Following a barrage of criticism, organizers of an international reggae festival in Spain backtracked Wednesday and apologized for cancelling a concert by Jewish-American singer Matisyahu because he had declined to state his position regarding a Palestinian state.
Rototom Sunsplash festival said in a statement that it publicly apologized for canceling the concert and invites Matisyahu to play as originally planned on Saturday.
It said it recognized its mistake, adding that it had been the fruit of pressure by a local branch of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which campaigned against Matisyahu’s participation.
The change comes after the World Jewish Congress wrote to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, calling on him to condemn the cancellation, adding that the “scandalous behavior” of Rototom Sunsplash festival organizers demanded firm action by Spain.
The government also slammed the festival’s decision.
The World Jewish Congress and the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain hailed the reversal Wednesday and thanked the organizers.
It wasn’t immediately known if Matisyahu will accept the new invitation.
In the letter sent Tuesday, the Jewish congress said the decision’s “anti-Semitic overtones are not in Spain’s best interests,” adding that the Jewish community in Spain and worldwide were deeply troubled by the incident.
The organization had suggested Spain should consider recuperating public funding for the festival, being held this week in eastern Spain.
Spain’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday the government understood the Jewish communities’ unease, adding that Spain opposed boycott campaigns against Israel. It reiterated its support for a Palestinian state through negotiations.
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