A group of more than 100 artists on Friday published an open letter in the British Guardian newspaper in which they are calling for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 if it is held in Israel.
“We, the undersigned artists from Europe and beyond, support the heartfelt appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 hosted by Israel. Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights,” wrote the artists.
The letter claims that on May 14, days after Israel’s Eurovision win, “the Israeli army killed 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including six children, and injured hundreds, most with live ammunition. Amnesty International has condemned Israel’s shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy and Human Rights Watch described the killings as ‘unlawful and calculated.’”
The violent riots in question took place along the Gaza border on the day the US relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
At various points during the riots, IDF soldiers were attacked with guns and various explosives, including grenades, pipe bombs, and firebombs. Hamas openly admitted, contrary to the artists’ claims, that the majority of the rioters who were killed were members of the group.
The letter further states that “Eurovision 2019 should be boycotted if it is hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights.”
“We understand that the European Broadcasting Union is demanding that Israel finds a ‘non-divisive’ location for the 2019 Eurovision. It should cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record. Injustice divides, while the pursuit of dignity and human rights unites,” it concluded.
Among the signatories to the letter are former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, who has for years led calls to boycott Israel, as well as British composer Brian Eno, a longtime supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who in 2016 ordered an Israeli dance company to stop using his music.
Israel is due to host Eurovision next year due to the fact that it won the 2018 Eurovision contest, which took place in Lisbon on May 19, with the song “Toy” sung by Netta Barzilai.
Contest rules state that the winning country hosts the following year’s contest but the winning state can waive the right, as Israel did when it won for the second time in two years in 1979. At the time the waiver was used for economic reasons, as Israel's leaders cited the cost of producing such an event two years in a row. Israel also hosted Eurovision in 1999 after winning the contest in 1998.
There have already been several calls to boycott of next year’s contest due to the fact that Israel will host it. One such call came from Dublin Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha, who said Ireland should boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in order to show solidarity with the “horrific ordeal of the Palestinian people.”
Mac Donncha’s call for a boycott came a day after several leftist Irish lawmakers expressed support for boycotting Israel following its winning the Eurovision song contest.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)