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Matisyahu Performs Near Auschwitz After Heckling From Pro-Palestinian Activists

"The gas tried to choke but it couldn't choke me."

Matisyahu performing in Moscow, December 2014 (Shutterstock/hurricanehank)

Jewish-American musician Matisyahu performed Tuesday night at the last remaining synagogue near the Auschwitz death camp, just days after he was heckled by pro-Palestinian protesters at a weekend performance in Spain.

The reggae singer posted images on Facebook of his acoustic concert at the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot synagogue in Oswiecim, Poland, held in the area where more than 1 million were slaughtered during World War II.

"The gas tried to choke but it couldn't choke me." Played in the last remaining Synagogue outside of Auschwitz in the city Oświęcim. Peace and blessings.

Posted by Matisyahu on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"The gas tried to choke but it couldn't choke me,” Matisyahu wrote on Facebook, quoting the reference to the Holocaust in his song “Jerusalem.” Many of his songs incorporate God and faith.

Pro-Palestinian activists heckled the singer and waved Palestinian flags during his performance Saturday at a reggae festival in Spain.

“Tonight was difficult but special,” Matisyahu wrote Facebook after that concert. “Thank you to everyone who made it possible! Every chance to make music is a blessing.”

Organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival in Spain allowed the singer to perform Saturday night after earlier revoking an invitation over Matisayhu’s refusal to issue a statement declaring his position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The festival had faced pressure from boycott Israel activists to eject the Jewish singer.

Matisyahu, who for years practiced Orthodox Judaism, has performed in Israel and expressed sympathy for the Jewish state.

The Rototom organizers’ efforts to eject the Jewish-American singer received widespread condemnation, including from the Spanish government and media. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid called the cancellation “troubling.”

Critics accused the festival of asking only the Jewish participant to undergo a political litmus test as a condition for performing.

Matisyahu last week called the experience of being put under political pressure “appalling and offensive.”

One last thing…
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