171 Swedish artists wrote an open letter urging people to boycott 2019 Eurovision in Israel for its repressive actions against Palestinians.
Artists and celebrities from Sweden urged people to boycott the 2019 Eurovision contest in Israel. An open letter was penned by 171 artists denouncing Israel’s brutality against Palestinians.
Israel is hosting this year’s contest because Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won the 2018 contest.
"Just a few days after the Israeli victory in the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2018, Israel's army killed 62 unarmed Palestinians who protested against their prison-like imprisonment in Gaza. Six of those murdered were children,” the letter said.
“At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his delight that Netta Barzilai, the winning singer, was the best ambassador for Israel in the world."
The artists stressed the brutality faced by Gazans during the Great March of Return, which started in March 2018. The Gazan protesters demanded the return of Palestinians displaced from their lands due to Israel’s illegal settlement policies. Since the start of the march, almost 200 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupying forces.
“We, Swedish artists and cultural workers who have signed this call, cannot quietly watch Israel use the Eurovision Song Contest to conceal their crimes against the Palestinian people,” the signatories wrote.
In conclusion, they said, "as long as Israel, with its apartheid policy, denies the Palestinians their basic human rights, we must renounce all participation in Israeli cultural exchanges.”
The 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai said that boycotting the contest is "not the answer" and "boycotting light spreads darkness."
Last September, around 140 artists called for a boycott of Eurovision and in January, 60 LGBTQI groups also came forward boycotting the same.
The semifinals of Eurovision is scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv on May 14 and 16 and the finals are supposed to be on May 18.