Matisyahu rocks SunSplash
Matisyahu rocks SunSplashReuters

American Jewish singer Matisyahu performed at a Spanish music festival late on Saturday, days after organizers apologized for canceling his appearance due to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. 

While he faced catcalls from some pro-Palestinian protesters, Reuters reported, the concert passed calmly despite its tense build-up.

Video from the event shows Matisyahu singing his famous song "Jerusalem," even as protesters wave the flags of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group in the crowd.

The Rototom SunSplash festival pulled Matisyahu, who fuses reggae and hip-hop with Jewish influences, from its line-up after a local BDS branch accused the 36-year-old of being a "Zionist" who supports the practice of "apartheid and ethnic cleansing." 

When Matisyahu did not reply to festival organizers' demand that he publicly state that he is in favor of a Palestinian state, they cancelled his appearance. Ironically, a Jamaican singer whose songs feature lyrics calling to kill homosexuals was not banned.

The decision was condemned by Jewish groups, the Spanish government and both the US and Israeli embassies in Spain, prompting a swift backtrack and apology from organizers, who invited him to perform on the last night of the week-long festival. 

The local BDS branch that had Matisyahu's performance initially cancelled responded to his reinvitation with a confusing notice, in which the group claimed that its actions against him were not part of BDS.

Matisyahu, who had initially denounced the cancellation as "appalling" on Facebook, accepted the new invitation, a statement from the organizers said on Friday.

As Matisyahu took the stage before a packed audience in Benicassim, near Valencia in eastern Spain, dozens of protesters whistled in disapproval, with some waving Palestinians flags and chanting "out, out."

Hundreds of others, however, cheered and applauded the musician as his concert got under way. 

"Whoever you are and wherever you come from raise a flag and wave it in the air," Matisyahu told the crowd before his final song. "Let music be your flag."