A popular Jewish musician is accusing venues of anti-Semitism after they canceled his concerts just hours before performances began

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Jewish-American musician Matisyahu accused two venues of anti-Semitism this week after both canceled his upcoming shows just hours before they were scheduled to begin.

Matisyahu, a reggae artist who also mixes hip-hop and rock in his sound, criticized both the Rialto Theater in Tucson, Arizona and the Meow Wolf venue in Santa Fe, New Mexico for stopping his shows, after receiving warnings that protests were planned at both events.

Although the artist claimed the decisions were due to the anti-Semitic views of venue staff, both venues insisted on canceling the shows solely for safety reasons, the New York Post reported.

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Two concerts by Jewish-American artist Matisyahu were canceled this week due to “security concerns.” The artist blamed anti-Semitism for this. (Getty Images)

The Santa Fe venue was the first to cancel Matisyahu's show, just an hour before he was scheduled to continue. According to local news station KOAT 7, “more than 150 staff members reportedly expressed concerns about a lack of security” after several local pro-Palestinian activist groups planned protests outside the concert.

Counter-protesters were also expected to engage with the pro-Palestinian groups outside Meow Wolf, prompting the venue to pull the plug.

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Several pro-Palestinian groups took credit for the shutdown, with some detailing how their members “overwhelmed Meow Wolf with social media posts and phone calls,” the station reported.

The cancellation caused such a stir that Sante Fe Mayor Alan Webber released a statement seemingly criticizing how Matisyahu was treated.

Webber explained: “There is a significant difference between protesting the Netanyahu government's policies in Gaza and shutting down a Jewish-American artist's performance in Santa Fe. There is no excuse for anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, bigotry, bias, racism or any such intolerance, not here, not now, never.”

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This Thursday, the Rialto Theater canceled the performance of the Jewish-American artist hours before the show began for the same reasons. In a statement posted on Facebook, the venue's account said: “The safety of our staff and guests will always be our top priority. We are in the process of refunding all ticket holders. We apologize for the late cancellation.”

The venue did not provide any information about the safety concerns.

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One of the venues that canceled the artist's performances said it did so due to pro-Palestinian protests and counter-protests planned outside the concert. (Getty Images)

The artist criticized both venues in a statement shared with his fans following the cancellations.

He explained: “To my fans: My band and I were supposed to play a sold out show at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe last night, and we were looking forward to tonight's show at the Rialto Theater in Tucson. Instead, employees at these venues refused to come to work, forcing cancellations. Without our permission or consent, the Santa Fe venue misinformed our fans that they were canceling the show due to “safety concerns,” when the only concern was that a group of employees were unwilling to attend my show. Tonight in Tucson, we offered to fill the staffing shortage on our own, but to no avail.”

He continued: “They do this because they are either anti-Semitic or have confused their compassion for the Palestinian people with hatred for someone like me who has compassion for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

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In a statement to local affiliate Fox 10, Rialto Theater general manager Cathy Rivers insisted that safety concerns were the only reason for the action.

She said: “Let me make this situation very clear. The decision not to let Matisyahu play tonight was not made for political or religious reasons. This decision was made for safety reasons. The temperature of the day changed and the tone was not set by us. This escalated into a safety risk for our guests, our employees and our community.”

“We have hosted Matisyahu in our theater many times, but today was not the right day to have him play. It has been paid in full and all ticket holders can receive a refund for the ticket,” she added.

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