Netta Barzilai
Netta Barzilai Reuters

Protesters on Saturday night crashed the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals in France, moments after Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, who won the contest last year, performed on stage.

The protesters carried signs calling for a boycott of the competition which will be held in Israel in May, and were quickly removed by security guards.

Barzilai was later quoted on Army Radio as saying, "After an amazing evening - five people who come to distribute darkness and not to talk about music and love will not disturb me on such an evening."

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Tel Aviv under the slogan “Dare to Dream”.

There have been several calls to boycott the competition since it is being held in Israel. One such call came from a group of Irish celebrities who called on the Irish national broadcaster RTE to boycott Eurovision 2019 in protest over Israel’s treatment of “Palestine”.

An earlier call on Ireland to boycott the 2019 contest 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.”

Another such call came from the Palestinian Authority (PA) “culture minister”, who said that holding the Eurovision in Israel “whitewashes the Israeli occupation” and its violations against the Palestinian people.

In addition, a group of more than 100 artists, including former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters and British composer Brian Eno, published an open letter in the British Guardian newspaper in which they called for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 if it is held in Israel.

So far, several broadcasters have rejected the boycott calls, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Australian public television network SBS.