50 UK artists call on BBC to boycott 2019 Eurovision from Israel

More than 50 British ‘culture figures’ sign protest letter insisting the BBC cancel their planned televised coverage of the yearly singing contest because, in their opinion, the hosting country Israel, ‘violates Palestinian human rights.’

By Danit Zamit


More than 50 British musicians, authors and prominent figures in the film industry have called on the BBC not to broadcast the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest because it will be hosted by Israel.

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, singer Peter Gabriel, film director Ken Loach and writer Mike Leigh are among the celebrities who signed a letter calling to ban this year’s contest, which will take place in May in Tel Aviv.

Year’s winner, Netta Barzilai from Israel, at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Blue Carpet event, 6 May 2018. – Photo: Wikimedia/Dewayne Barkley/EuroVisionary

The letter, published in The Guardian newspaper, blasted Israel for its policies in the West Bank.

“Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations—and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,” the letter said.

“The BBC is bound by its charter to ‘champion freedom of expression’. It should act on its principles and press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed.”

According to the signatories, the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) decision to hold the competition in Tel Aviv rather than in Israel’s capital Jerusalem “does nothing to protect Palestinians from land theft, evictions, shootings, beatings and more by Israel’s security forces.”

Britain will choose its own representative to the annual song contest in a public vote on a BBC2 show entitled “Eurovision: You Decide,” which will be held on February 8.

“For any artist of conscience, this would be a dubious honor,” the letter said. “They and the BBC should consider that ‘You Decide’ is not a principle extended to the Palestinians, who cannot ‘decide’ to remove Israel’s military occupation and live free of apartheid.”

Anti-Semite Roger Waters vs. Israeli winner Netta Barzilai

Other signatories of the letter include actors Julie Christie and Maxine Peake, musicians Wolf Alice and Roger Waters—who is known for his anti-Israel stance and efforts to promote the boycott against the Jewish state—and writers Caryl Churchill and AL Kennedy.

In September 2018, more than 100 artists across Europe called on the Eurovision’s organizers to “cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record”.

Meanwhile, the Eurovision events officially began earlier this week as Deputy mayor of Lisbon, Duare Cordeiro, handed over the host city insignia to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, and a raffle was held dividing the participating countries into two semi-finals.


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