This week, after word spread that a Spanish Reggae festival, Rototom Sunsplash, had canceled Jewish-american singer Matisyahu’s concert, the Jewish community was left angrily searching for a legitimate reason why. Matisyahu confirmed that pressure was put on him to publicly declare his position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement agenda. When he refused, they uninvited him from the event. Rototom Sunsplash’s mission statement clearly describes their search for a peaceful world and equality for all: “From our very beginnings, the culture of peace has always been present in our way of understanding, not just in the festival, but in life in general…to create efficient channels of communication and an alignment between different cultures and people from all over the world, regardless of race, religion, borders and perceived physical and ideological barriers.” So then why was Matisyahu, the only openly Jewish singer, singled out to declare allegiance to a movement that had nothing to do with him?
On Wednesday, Rototom Sunsplash put out a press release in which they apologized for their error and reinvited Matisyahu to the festival. They cited their reasoning was “due to the boycott and the campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed by the BDS País Valencià because it was perceived that the normal functioning of the festival could be threatened.” In my eyes, this is terrorism. “The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” Rototom Sunsplash had to decide whether they would act in a prejudiced way towards an innocent man or face possible violence from supporters of the Palestinian cause. They negotiated with terrorists.
In the prisoner exchange deal made for the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011, 1,027 Palestinian criminals were allowed to return to their homes. A committee studying this exchange has found that of those released, as many as 39 have committed additional crimes and acts of terror that led to their rearrest. The murders of six Israelis since 2014, including that of Malachy Rosenfeld, a driver recently shot to death returning home from a basketball game, were carried out by those same released prisoners. As the Talmud says “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Saving Gilad Shalit’s life was the right thing to do, but at what cost?
Palestinian prisoner and hunger-striker Mohammed Allaan has recently made to news for putting himself in a coma with possible brain damage just to convince Israeli lawmakers to release him from prison. His threat of continued refusal to eat, and Hamas’ warnings of intifada if he died, were heeded and the decision was made to halt his administrative detention. We negotiated with terrorists and will now see how this plays out.
We see this issue also coming to life in the ongoing Iran deal talks. Weeks after the deal was announced, their Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, stood up in front of a crowd and audaciously yelled out the words “Death to America! Death to Israel!” Has there ever been a better time to take this man at face value?
Iran and Khamenei, Hamas and Palestinians and the BDS supporters are all fighting for the same cause: to de-legitimize Israel and to turn the world against the Jews. If we continue to appease and bargain with them, we will see that it will come back to bite us.