Culture

Over 100 Artists Have Promised To Boycott 2019 Eurovision In Israel

Signees include Alia Shawkat, ex-Eurovision winners and this year's Australian Eurovision judge L-Fresh The Lion.

Eurovision

More than 100 Australian and international artists including Alia Shawkat and Brian Eno have petitioned the Eurovision Song Contest to not hold next year’s contest in Israel, responding to calls from Palestinians asking for a boycott.

This May, Israel won Eurovision with ‘Toy’, a chirpy song by Netta: while no official host city has been announced, it’s custom for the previous year’s winner to hold the next competition.

In a letter published on The Guardian, the collection of artists implore Eurovision to cancel Israel’s hosting of the event, citing an incident in May where the Israeli army killed 62 Palestinian protestors and injured hundreds more in Gaza, who were protesting the opening of a US Embassy in Jerusalem. It was the bloodiest day in Gaza since 2014. As the petition notes, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch condemned the killings.

“Eurovision 2019 should be boycotted if it is hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights,” the letter reads. “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.”

Australian artists who signed the petition include writers Candy Bowers, Helen Razer, Crowded House guitarist Nick Seymour and musician L-Fresh The Lion, who was an Australian judge at this year’s competition.

Other notable names include British film director Mike Leigh and rock band Wolf Alice, as well as a spate of Eurovision-affiliated acts, including Ireland’s 1994 winner Charlie McGettigan.

Eurovision has not directly responded to the petition, but has since posted on its official Facebook page that “despite ongoing media attention, no decision has yet been made by the EBU as to which city will host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.”

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have both submitted extremely strong bids which meet the needs of the Contest. We are examining the proposals carefully in order to choose the best overall location for next year’s event.”

Find the full petition here.

Photo by Thomas Hanses via Eurovision Facebook.