Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with the nine activists for justice in Palestine in Spain threatened with imprisonment and fines for advancing the campaign for the boycott of Zionism, racism and injustice.
In August 2015, Palestine activists in Spain launched a campaign to call on the Rototom Sunsplash music festival, which identifies itself as a human rights-oriented, progressive festival, to cancel the performance of Matisyahu, an American performer well-known for his heavy involvement in supporting Israeli colonialism and ethnic cleansing. Matisyahu has performed at many galas and events for anti-Palestinian projects and fundraisers, including the “Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces,” which raises money for the Israeli occupation army, and AIPAC. He also praised the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla’s Mavi Marmara in 2010. Indeed, even Matisyahu’s lyricist Ephraim Rosenstein is himself a settler in an illegal Israeli colony, who campaigns for the far-right legal organization Honenu that defends Israeli soldiers and settlers who attack Palestinians.
In response to the campaign by BDS Valencia, US and Spanish Zionist and anti-Palestinian organizations claimed that Matisyahu was being targeted for boycott because of his Jewish religion rather than for his fervent support for colonialism that is incompatible with the festival’s expressed values of human rights and peace.
Right-wing lawyer Abel Isaac de Bedoya has filed a criminal complaint against the nine activists for “threat and coercion” and “hate crimes” for public, political social media postts calling for the cancellation of Matisyahu’s perofrmance.
It is clear that the suit, with its bogus claims against BDS activists in Spain, is yet another chapter in the “lawfare” attempts and campaigns being conducted by anti-Palestinian Zionist organizations internationally with the support of the Israeli state. From the prosecutions of BDS activists in France, to the harassment of demonstration organizers in Belgium, to the campaigns to shut down progressive organizations’ bank accounts in Germany, to the anti-BDS laws and resolutions being pushed across the US and Canada, this is a transparent attempt to crush the growing popular movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people through the machinery of the state.
It should be noted that these campaigns against grassroots Palestine activists come hand in hand with the creation of lists of forbidden “foreign terrorist organizations” including Palestinian political parties and resistance organizations and the surveillance, suppression and targeting of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities in an attempt to criminalize community involvement in the Palestinian liberation struggle. They also come hand in hand with the massive use of imprisonment in Palestine as a key weapon of settler colonialism as it attempts to suppress and eliminate Palestinian resistance.
It is our responsibility not only to resist criminalization, repression and intimidation against Palestinian and Palestine solidarity activists and organizations, but also to escalate our campaigns in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom and the Palestinian people fighting for liberation, including the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and the international isolation of the racist, settler-colonial Israeli state. Samidoun proudly joins over 1200 individuals and organizations who have joined the call to support these targeted activists. We urge all supporters of Palestine to sign on to the solidarity statement in support of the Spanish activists and join the campaign to defend their rights and defend Palestine.