Thursday, October 24, 2019

International group of artists call boycott of Eurovision in Israel

By Eli Lillis - September 13, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [BDS] [culture]

Over 140 global artists have signed an open letter calling for the Boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, to be hosted in Israel.

The letter, published in the
Guardian, responds to an appeal from Palestinian artists and is signed by an international coalition of artists including writers, actors, directors, novelists and poets.
It includes six Israeli artists as well as former winners and finalists of the Eurovision contest.
The letter demands the contest be boycotted if it is “hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights”.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is also running a campaign for the boycott.
An overview of the campaign on the BDS site explains “Israel is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel strategy, which presents “Israel’s prettier face” to whitewash and distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians.”
The campaign from BDS follows their successful petitioning of numerous international artists to cancel their performance at Israel’s recent Meteor Music Festival.
Speaking of these wins, Samir Joubran, part of the BDS movement and also from Palestinian band, Le Trio Joubran, told Palestine Monitor “the BDS are gaining lots of success all over and this is the powerful message that we are trying to give”.
Joubran explained the boycott was important because “this is the only thing we have as Palestinians as a weapon to show the whole world…that we are against the occupation.”

The calls for boycott come at a pivotal moment for Joubran, who recently recorded the track 'Carry the Earth’ with musician Roger Waters, another member of BDS, and outspoken critic of the occupation.
Both Le Trio Joubran and Roger Waters have been accused of anti-Semitism for the clip - an accusation that Joubran strongly denies.
 “Four years ago, four children were playing football on the beach in Gaza, and by mistake, as the Israelis claim, a ship sent a missile and boof… they are dead,” Joubran explained the inspiration of the song.  
“It is an homage for them and we name them, Mohammad Ramiz Bakr, Ahed Atef Bakr, Zakariya Ahed Bakr and Ismail Mahmoud Bakr. The clip is a very, very human. Its saying boys, our boys, your boys. It’s global.”

As the end of the signed letter reads '“Injustice divides, while the pursuit of dignity and human rights unites.”


Lead image: The 2018 Eurovision winner, Netta Barzilai from Israel.


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