Britain: BDS activists protest Israel hosting of Eurovision

Dozens of BDS activists protest in Manchester against Israel hosting the Eurovision Song Contest this year.

Elad Benari ,

BDS activists
BDS activists

Dozens of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists protested on Friday evening outside the studio in Manchester, Britain, where Israeli Eurovision Song Contest winner Netta Barzilai performed during the final round of the televised competition to pick the British participant in this year’s contest.

According to Channel 12 News, the activists arrived at the scene holding Palestinian Arab flags and signs condemning Israel and the holding of the song competition in Tel Aviv in May.

Before Barzilai performed, there were concerns that the protesters would try to start a provocation during the performance itself, similar to the protest that took place two weeks ago in France, when BDS activists attempted to storm the stage. However, Barzilai’s performance took place without incident.

Channel 12 News reported that the pro-BDS protesters were met by a group of pro-Israeli demonstrators who countered their protest by waving Israeli flags and holding up signs supporting Israel and the BBC, which chose to participate in the competition in Israel despite calls for a boycott.

Israel won the right to host Eurovision in 2019 after Barzilai’s victory in last year’s contest with her song “Toy”.

The contest will actually be held in Tel Aviv this coming May under the slogan “Dare to Dream”.

There have been repeated calls for boycotts of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest due to its being held in Israel. Most recently, 50 public British figures signed an open letter calling for the contest to be moved to another country because of alleged Israeli “human rights violations”.

One of the signatories to the letter is former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, a notorious anti-Israel activist who has verbally attacked and pressured many artists who chose to perform in Israel over the last several years.

Waters was also among a group of more than 100 artists who published an open letter this past September calling for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 since it is being held in Israel.

Despite the repeated calls for a boycott, dozens of countries have confirmed participation in the 2019 contest. They include Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom.