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Jewish Performer Forced to Cancel Concert for Third Time over Antisemitic Threats

A third Matisyahu concert has been canceled in response to the threat of pro-Palestinian protests, the American Jewish reggae musician shared on his Instagram Friday afternoon.

The show had been scheduled for Friday night at House of Blues Chicago. 

“While my fans and I are deeply hurt by this, please know we will not cower to these bullies and the pressure they exert,” Matisyahu wrote. 

The cancellation comes three weeks after the artist had concerts canceled in Tucson, Arizona, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Both venues for those shows cited staffing shortages and safety concerns after having been targeted by protesters, who said Matisyahu’s history of performing for Israeli soldiers and pro-Israel groups in the United States should disqualify him from performing. Matisyahu is known for his peace anthem “One Day,” which he performed at the massive pro-Israel rally in Washington, D.C. in November.

“While the true details surrounding this decision remain opaque, and while the responsible parties all point fingers at one another over the decision; I can assure you there have been no threats of violence received by our security team who have been vigilant in knowing what is happening in each city,” Matisyahu wrote on his Instagram Friday about the Chicago show.

Matisyahu said the venue had paid him for the cancellation and that he would donate the proceeds to the Hostage and Missing Families Forum “to help the families of the hostages and in honor of International Women’s Day to acknowledge the women and girls still held captive by Hamas” and to the emergency medical service United Hatzalah Israel.

In response to pro-Palestinian protests after the first two concerts were canceled, Jewish heavy metal musician David Draiman, frontman for the band Disturbed, organized a fundraiser to pay for Matisyahu’s security costs.

“The ramifications of such tactics go beyond me and the Jewish people,” Matisyahu wrote of the Chicago concert cancellation. “These individuals and the organizations that break under their pressure threaten the bedrock of artistic expression, intellectual honesty, and empathy between people with different views and concerns. We will continue to play shows. And we will always stand tall against hate and march towards the true goal of a long term peace for all.”

Matisyahu has faced protests even in places where his shows have gone on as planned. The artist’s next scheduled performance is Saturday night in Detroit, home to both large Jewish and Muslim communities and the epicenter of a growing political protest movement against the Biden administration’s support for Israel.

Source: https://www.jta.org/2024/03/08/culture/for-the-3rd-time-matisyahu-concert-canceled-amid-threat-of-pro-palestinian-protests