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  • LGBTQI groups are urging people to boycott 2019 Eurovision and Tel Aviv pride in solidarity with Palestine.

    LGBTQI groups are urging people to boycott 2019 Eurovision and Tel Aviv pride in solidarity with Palestine. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 January 2019

LGBTQ groups from more than 20 countries are boycotting the 2019 Eurovision contest and Tel Aviv Pride to protest against Israel’s “pinkwashing”.

More than 60 LGBTQ groups from nearly 20 countries called on other LGBTQ organizations to boycott the 2019 Eurovision contest in Israel. Eurovision has a strong following among the LGBTQ communities.

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The signatories accused Israel of distracting “attention from its war crimes against Palestinians” and “forward its pinkwashing agenda, the cynical use of gay rights to distract from and normalize Israel’s occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.”

Israel is hosting this year’s contest because Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won the 2018 contest.

The groups criticized Israel for holding a Barzilai concert on May 14, 2018 in Tel Aviv during the deadliest day of weekly Gaza protest which claimed 62 Palestinian lives at the hands of the Israeli occupation force.

The statement by the different organizations recalled the 1969 Stonewall Riots which was an LGBTQ uprising against daily violence and harassment and drew a parallel with Gaza’s weekly protest for Great March of Return and Israel’s decades of violent oppression of Palestinians.

The signatories include: Palestinian collectives al-Qaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society; Pinkwatching Israel; Aswat- Palestinian Feminist Center for Sexual and Gender Freedoms; the National LGBT Committee for UNISON, one of the U.K.’s largest trade unions; ACT UP groups in France and the U.K.; the Panteras Rosa in Portugal; more than 20 queer and trans groups in Spain and Italy; the Gay Liberation Network; the Methodist Federation for Social Action; and Jewish Voice for Peace's New York City Queer Caucus in the U.S.

“Joining and promoting the call to boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel and Tel Aviv Pride help expose the Israeli government's reprehensible co-opting of queer rights as a public relations tool to hide its crimes against Palestinians. They strike a blow to its shameful pinkwashing strategy to maintain its apartheid regime and its decades-old colonization and occupation of Palestine,” said Haneen Maikey, director of alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society.

The organizations also gave a call to boycott the Tel Aviv pride parade and festival as according to them, Israel is “promoting Eurovision alongside Tel Aviv Pride in order to reap maximum benefits for Israel for an entire month of pinkwashing.”

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