|Matisyahu with Steve Levine, Jerusalem 2011|
We're honoring Matis today on RFN for the high road he took when BDS bullied Rototom Sunsplash into demanding he alone of the dozens of artists make a political statement in order to play. He declined. They cut him from the bill. Antisemitism in the very last place it should be - the musical community. We are officially disgusted.
We find it offensive that not a single one of the dozens of other artists were asked to make a political statement in order to perform at the Rototom Sunsplash Festival in Spain. Only the Jew. We find it offensive that the organizers of Rototom caved to BDS activist demands to single out the only Jewish performer to be examined for his politics. We find it offensive that other artists were not informed of the actions of the Rototom Sunsplash organizers and didn't have the opportunity to protest or to stand with Matisyahu; many of them didn't even hear what was happening until it showed up on social media.
This was Matisyahu's statement today:
"The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. - Blessed Love, Matis"Our revenge? MUSIC, and lots of it.
We'll be playing a lot of Matisyahu and a whole lot more of the best Jewish, Israeli, and World Music as well as the best classic rock, and of course, Reb Shlomo, and the Grateful Dead - all right here on Radio Free Nachlaot - broadcasting live 24/6 from Undisclosed Studio B Jerusalem (with a satellite studio "A" in Berkeley, California).