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Matisyahu, Gelman Blame Cancellations on Pro-Israel Views

Jewish artists fear their faith, activism sparked 'antisemitic' attacks

Fans expecting a sold-out show by Matisyahu got a rude awakening this week.

The reggae star’s gig at Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf installation got scuttled at the last minute, a move the singer said was tied to his Jewish faith.

He’s not the only Jewish star to suggest he’s being discriminated against for his faith. The cancellation came days after “Stranger Things” actor Brett Gelman saw two stops on his current book tour scuttled. Once again, the actor blamed the cancelations on antisemitism.

Actor Michael Rapaport faced a similar pressure campaign last month, but the shows went on without incident.

The artistic community has had a conflicted reaction to the Oct. 7 Hamas’ attacks on Israel and the Jewish nation’s fierce counter-attack. Stars who routinely weigh in on political matters suddenly went silent after the death of roughly 1,200 innocents, many of whom were raped and tortured.

Some signed open letters to express their outrage over the Hamas atrocities but did little else. Others demanded a ceasefire after Israel started hitting Hamas targets in Gaza, seemingly less concerned with the Israeli hostages still being held by the terrorist group.

A tiny group, including Amy Schumer, Michael Rapaport, Patricia Heaton and Debra Messing, aggressively used their social media accounts to defend Israel and decry Hamas’ Nazi-like actions.

The Oct. 7 attacks and Israeli’s response sparked antisemitic marches across college campuses and major urban centers across the country.

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Now, Jewish artists claim it’s bleeding into the cultural space.

Matisyahu said the Meow Wolf cancellation, followed by a similar shutdown of a proposed gig at the Rialto Theater in Tucson, had nothing to do with security concerns or related issues, as local media reported.

He blamed the cancellations on staffers at both venues refusing to work on behalf of a pro-Israeli artist.


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A post shared by Matisyahu (@matisyahu)

To my fans: My band and I should have played a sold out show at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe last night and we were excited for tonight’s show at the Rialto Theater in Tucson. Instead, the staff at these venues refused to come to work, forcing cancellations. Without our permission or approval, the venue in Santa Fe misinformed our fans cancelling the show due to “security concerns,” when the only concern was a goup of staff unwilling to work my show. Tonight in Tucson, we have offered to supplement their staff shortages on our own dime, but to no avail. They do this because they are either anti-Semitic or have confused their empathy for the Palestinian people with hatred for someone like me who holds empathy for both Israelis and Palestinians.

The singer’s post earned praise from fellow musician Regina Spektor.

This is shocking. I’m sending you hope and safety. Love to everyone out there who still cares about and can acknowledge the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians… There is peace work to do instead of just closing off and creating more hate and danger in the world… Music is an international language…

Matisyahu Hearts Israel, Reaches Out to Palestinians

The reggae singer has shared Instagram messages supporting his fellow Jews and praying for peace with the Palestinian people. He’s also said if Jewish people are forced to fight for their survival they’ll do just that.

“We don’t want to fight you,” one Instagram post said.

The New York Post reported that Gelman, known for roles on Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” “Fleabag” and HBO’s romantic comedy series “Love,” saw two of his public appearances canceled in recent weeks.

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The actor is supporting his short story collection, “The Terrifying Realm of the Possible: Nearly True Stories,” and he planned to visit book shops in San Francisco and Winnetka, Ill. to spread the word.

The Post said both stores refused to share why his appearances were canceled.

Gelman has a theory.

“I didn’t get a lot of specifics … [but] I definitely believe it’s because of my vocal support of Israel and because of the fact that I’m Jewish. I think that this is a completely antisemitic act.”

Rapaport also has faced blowback for his pro-Israeli views. The “Justified” alum’s Portland appearance last month faced heavy protests from pro-Palestinian forces eager to stop his shows in their tracks. The actor-turned-stand-up refused to bow to the pressure and played multiple gigs as planned.

The Matisyahu cancellations have drawn no mainstream media attention save TMZ. News outlets similarly ignored Gelman’s book stop cancellations as well as the fierce protests Rapaport faced for supporting his Jewish faith.

The latter included veiled threats of violence. The actor’s eyes were crossed out in a poster promoting the protest.


  1. I don’t know why publications are calling anything pro-Palestine “antisemitism”. You can be against the actions of an apartheid-state like Israel without hating Jewish people.

    1. There is no Palestinian. It is as fake as a person who pretends to change genders. It is a “race” of people younger than I am, whose only reason for existence is the fact that their Arab brethren refuse to take them in, and use them as a propaganda device, which you have wholly fallen for.

      As for the Apartheid claim, it is as fake as the name Palestinian. There are many many Arabs living in Israel who have the same rights as everyone else living in Israel. Such cannot be said for those few jews still living in Arab states.

  2. Just watched the Free Press video linked, those anti-Israel people are just animals, pure and simple, it’s like looking at a manifestation of the devil.

    And yet they call us evil…

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