Artist Matisyahu faces more protests at Rototom Sunsplash

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Matisyahu, the Jewish American reggae rapper who was dropped from the line-up of the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae festival in Benicàssim near Valencia for refusing to make a public statement concerning Palestine and was then invited back after an international backlash, faced boos, whistles, protests and had various objects thrown at him when he finally performed on Saturday August 22.

A group of protesters carrying Palestine flags and a banner proclaiming Peace for Palestine, had made noisy protests throughout the day during the festival before the singer appeared on stage. When Matisyahu appeared they moved towards the stage and hurled a bottle of water and a shoe as the artist performed. 

At the beginning of his concert, boos and whistles, as well as applause, could be heard and the protest group shouted comments about Palestine before leaving after 30 minutes. The Jewish artist, meanwhile, proclaimed his commitment to peace, thanking people for coming to listen to the music and stating that “Our hearts are our flags”.

Referencing his roots in his penultimate song Jerusalem, which outlined the journey of the Jewish people, his final song ended the 45 minute concert on a more conciliatory note with his rendition of One Day which called for peace one day, equality for all people, an end to violence, and the defeat of hatred.

The original problem in the festival arose when the local branch of Disinvestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS), contacted festival organizers asking for the rapper to state his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Due to his decision not to respond, the festival cancelled his appearance but then relented after worldwide protests which accused organizers of discrimination. Nevertheless, several artists refused to appear at the festival if Matisyahu was allowed to perform and as a result of him being invited back, Valencian band La Gossa Sorda cancelled their festival performance due to take place at the weekend.

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