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BRUSSELS: French rapper Medine, at the center of controversy in France after a tweet deemed anti-Semitic, which he later regretted, has been deprogrammed from a festival he was scheduled to perform in Namir, Belgium on Friday, organizers said on Wednesday.

In a press release, the Les Solidarités festival explains “to cancel the arrival of the rapper”, “with some confusion, but for the sake of reassurance”.

“Today, after a tweet, the content of which we do not share, and despite the artist’s apology and explanations, a wave of sometimes hateful, sometimes more balanced reactions swept the web and were broadcast by the press. Despite us, the festival is now its victim,” the organizers add.

Medine is a controversial rapper in France who is often accused of being an “Islamist”. In a post two weeks ago on X (formerly Twitter), he called essayist Rachel Khan, Jewish and the granddaughter of deportees, “resKHANpée.”

An expression he later regretted, denying that he was anti-Semitic. He apologized repeatedly in two interviews with the French press on Wednesday, before taking part in a political debate at the EELV (environmentalist) party’s summer days in his hometown of Le Havre.

“Anti-Semitism is poison, I’ve been fighting it for a long time,” the 40-year-old singer told Le Parisien newspaper on Wednesday. Of the controversial tweet, he adds: “It’s a mistake, I admit it.”

He says he “didn’t have his family history in mind” when he posted the “awkward tweet” in response to Ms Khan’s message, calling it “rubbish”.

Several members of Belgium’s political class seized on the ongoing controversy in France on Tuesday, with a centrist MP seeing Medina’s words as a way to “trivialize the evil”.

Georges-Louis Bouches, president of the French-speaking Liberals, one of the parties in the ruling coalition, had indirectly asked Medina to be deprogrammed in Namira.

“Can we ask for a little decency without taking this person?” Mr Bouchess wrote on the X network, also accusing the French rapper of “open anti-police”.

Georgie Collins

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