Jewish American rapper banned from music festival and then invited back

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Audience at festival

Matisyahu, real name Matthew Paul Miller, a Jewish American reggae rapper, was dropped from the line-up of the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae festival being held this week in Benicàssim near Valencia for refusing to make a public statement concerning Palestine.

Due to the growing controversy over the ruling and complaints from Israel and the US, the Spanish Government – which supports the festival through local tourist offices – made a formal statement on August 18criticising the decision.

Happily for the singer and his fans, the organisers of the festival have changed their minds, invited him back to play on August 22 and have apologised for their actions.

Originally the singer performed in full Hasidic costume but in 2011 announced that he would shave off his beard and since then has bleached his hair and worn less traditional clothes.

The problem arose when the local branch of Disinvestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS), contacted the festival 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 perhaps because of the Spanish Government statement and the suggestion that some other acts may not perform in support, they have made this about face.

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