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Over 140 worldwide artists boycott Eurovision in Israel

Sept. 9, 2018 10:46 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 21, 2018 1:59 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- About 140 artists, including musicians, writers, actors, directors, novelists, and poets have signed a letter calling for the boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, which is scheduled to be held in Israel.

The letter, which was published by The Guardian, was signed by about 140 artists from around the world, including six Israeli artists, demanding the song contest should be boycotted if it is "hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights."

Among those who signed the letter are musicians Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Nosizwe, Bugge Wesseltoft, Lars Klevstrand, Trond Ingebretsen, Jos M rio Branco, Chullage, Dror Feiler, Christy Moore, Charlie McGettigan, Kimmo Pohjonen, Paleface, and actors Candy Bowers, Daan Hugaert, Marijke Pinoy, Chokri Ben Chikha, Tove Bornhoeft, Anne Marie Helger, Tommi Korpela, Krista Kosonen, and novelists Manuela Bosco, G rard Mordillat, Jos Luis Peixoto, Michel B hler, and many others.

The six Israelis who have also signed the letter are Aviad Albert, Michal Sapir, Ohal Grietzer, Yonatan Shapira, Danielle Ravitzki, and David Opp.

The letter supported an appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott Eurovision, stating that "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."

The letter stressed "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."

"On 14 May, 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.'"

This part of the letter referred to the peaceful protests, known as "The Great March of Return," in which thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip -- which has suffered from a nearly 12-year Israeli siege -- who took to the borders to demand their right of return as refugees to their original homelands, now in present-day Israel.

The letter concluded "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."

This followed after strong efforts by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which led to a number of music artists cancelling their performance in Israel’s Meteor Music Festival, which was held in northern Israel and was to include Lana Del Rey, Shlohmo, Little Simz, and several others.

BDS has frequently called on many artists to cancel events in Israel, due to Israel's military action towards the Palestinians, in response some of the world’s top artists, such as Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, and Shakira have cancelled performances.

It is noteworthy, that hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel is not necessary neither is it the only option to be considered. In 1980, the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) had declined to host the contest in Israel for alleged financial reasons. Hence, the contest was held in The Hague, Netherlands instead.

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