British celebrities reject boycott of Eurovision

British celebrities sign letter speaking out against a proposed boycott of this year’s Eurovision song contest which will be held in Israel.

Elad Benari ,

Tel Aviv Eurovision advertisement
Tel Aviv Eurovision advertisement
Flash 90

A group of British celebrities, including Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne, Marina Abramović and pop mogul Scooter Braun, have signed a letter speaking out against a proposed boycott of this year’s Eurovision song contest, which is to be held in Tel Aviv this month.

Their letter, quoted by The Guardian on Tuesday, states that Eurovision’s “spirit of togetherness” across the continent is “under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division.”

“We believe the cultural boycott movement is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition. While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer,” the later states.

Non-profit organization Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) is behind the letter, which has more than 100 signatories. Signatories also include Gene Simmons of the band Kiss, comedian Al Murray, Countdown co-presenter Rachel Riley and Spanish singer/songwriter Conchita, AKA Maria Concepción Mendívil.

There have been numerous calls to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest this year due to the fact that is being hosted by Israel, following Netta Barzilai’s victory in last year’s contest with her song “Toy”.

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.

The BBC has also underlined its commitment to airing the event, saying, “The Eurovision song contest is not a political event and does not endorse any political message or campaign. The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC’s participation for political reasons. Because of this we will be taking part in this year’s event. The host country is determined by the rules of the competition, not the BBC.”