|Location(s)||Benicassim, Valencian Community, Spain|
Rototom Sunsplash is a large European reggae festival, it takes place every summer at Benicassim, a few miles north of Valencia in Spain. The festival imitates the traditional Jamaican Reggae Sunsplash and since 1994 calls from various European countries thousands of reggae passionated people, thanks to concerts of international musicians, often many Jamaicans.
In August 2015, the festival took the political stance of disinviting the American reggae artist Matisyahu after he refused to state his personal opinion regarding the proposed two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Matisyahu is not Israeli, but he is Jewish.
Matisyahu stated that he never includes his own political views in his shows, he declined to clarify his previous statements in question. It was also reported that other musicians threatened to cancel their performances unless Matisyahu made the declaration supporting Palestinian statehood. Matisyahu had been invited by the festival based on artistic criteria, but was ultimately disinvited because of his silence and because he is Jewish.
Many human rights groups and the Spanish government suggest that the banning had anti-Semitic overtones. The Spanish foreign minister said: "Imposing a public declaration (from Matisyahu), puts into question the principle of non-discrimination on which all plural and diverse societies are based." The concert included singer Capleton, whose lyrics call for murder of gays and lesbians, was not disinvited.
After strong reactions from various critics and the accusations of anti-Semitism Rototom Sunsplash admitted that cancelling Matisyahu´s performance was the wrong decision. The artist was then reinvited to the festival.
In an official statement issued on their web page Rototom Sunplash said: «Rototom Sunsplash rejects anti-Semitism and any form of discrimination towards the Jewish community; we respect both their culture as religious beliefs and we sincerely apologize for what has occurred». As an explanation for the erroneous decision to ban Matisyahu the organisers said «it was perceived that the normal functioning of the festival could be threatened» ... «due to the boycott and the campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed» by other people for them to ban him. This «prevented the organization from reasoning clearly as to how to deal with the situation properly».
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rototom Sunsplash.|
- Reggae Singer Matisyahu Disinvited From Music Fest for Not Endorsing Palestinian State
- Jewish group sends Spain's leader letter about Matisyahu
- Spanish music festival reinvites Matisyahu after anti-Semitism backlash
- Spanish Officials Condemn Matisyahu Concert Cancellation
- Spanish reggae festival re-invites Matisyahu
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