With the confirmation of the host city for Eurovision 2019 expected within the next week, a number of artists have signed an open letter calling for a boycott of the Israel-hosted edition of the song contest. Over 140 musicians and other artists from Europe and abroad have signed a letter published in The Guardian newspaper on Friday.

The open letter calls for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel, in support of Palestinian artists. The letter writers say that while the EBU has requested a “non-divisive” location for Eurovision 2019, this isn’t good enough and that Israel should not host the contest at all.

The full text of the open letter is as follows:

“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. 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”.

“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.”

The letter has been signed by various artists from Eurovision countries Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, as well as some artists from the United States and Canada.

A number of Eurovision and national final stars are among the signatories. The most accomplished name is the Irish musician Charlie McGettigan, who won Eurovision 1994 with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids”. Also adding their names are Finnish Eurovision singers Kaija Kärkinen (1991) Kyösti Laihi (1988, with Boulevard).

Two recent Icelandic national final acts are also on the list. Söngvakeppnin 2017 runner-up Daði Freyr and 2017 finalist Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir have both signed the letter.

Also signing their names are former Irish Eurovision commentator  Mike Murphy, Riverdance set designer Robert Ballagh and Spain’s Eurocasting 2017 entrant Nicky Triphook.

McGettigan and Ballagh were among artists who earlier signed an Irish petition calling for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 in Israel.

The open letter has primarily been signed by a large number of artists with no direct connection to Eurovision, including some respected icons. This includes Canadian novelist Yann Martel, Crowded House bass player Nick Seymour, British actress Julie Christie, legendary music producer Brian Eno, respected British film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters, The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler, and Arrested Development actress Alia Shawkat.

Neither the EBU nor host broadcaster KAN have yet responded to the open letter. Yesterday the EBU gave a statement on the selection of the host city for Eurovision 2019. It noted that, despite media speculation, a decision on the host city had not yet been made. Israeli media, however, are reporting that Tel Aviv is the likely candidate.

Read more Israel Eurovision News

Comments on this post are now closed.

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Clogged Arteries
Guest
Clogged Arteries

Today in this comment section I have learned that wanting to not give positive advertisement to a bad government is antisemitism. Okay. “Well where were these people when Russia or Azerbaijan hosted? Double standard!” You must’ve forgotten that yes there definitely was outrage when they hosted, too. Just because you weren’t there seeing it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

It should be held in Reykjavik

Maxine Abbey
Guest
Maxine Abbey

MISSION ABORT! Politics and Eurovision are always up for debate but this is RIDICULOUS! It´s just a music competition! We want to party in Tel Aviv! Or enjoy the beauty of Jerusalem! STOP SHOVING POLITICS IN EUROVISION! It has been ruining Eurovision for almost 40 YEARS NOW!!!! End of my rant….. NO WAIT!!! here is also a big FYI for all the artists that are signing this petition if you love this contest you SHOULD know pretty damn well that it is about music and it is Harmless! We are are not going to NORTH KOREA for pete´s sake! Can… Read more »

Dimitrios Daskalakis
Guest
Dimitrios Daskalakis

Get the members of ABBA to sign it. That should add great weight to it.

Where I Belong
Guest
Where I Belong

So the political part of the ESC has already begun thanks to the EBU hesitation to announce place and time of the Contest. It s a shame how they spoil the event in advance.

Not really
Guest
Not really

The political part of ESC has begun much earlier, not this year.

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

The political part of ESC has started when Massiel won

Ana
Guest
Ana

A tremendously unimpressive bunch of individuals. That’s sad that they even get any attention

leo
Guest
leo

give me a break, the icelandic guy would have reached the final instead of slava

beccaboo1212
Guest

Ela Mangion won Malta’s JESC selection with “Marchin’ On”. 🙂

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

Did they ever contact the Palestinian artists upon making this statement?

AMuncaster
Guest
AMuncaster

Really I don’t see how Tel Aviv is a ‘controversial’ host city? It doesn’t hold as much significance to Palestinians as Jerusalem.

Clogged Arteries
Guest
Clogged Arteries

It’s not really that Tel Aviv is controversial so much as that hosting Eurovision in Israel is positive attention to the state of Israel and these people agree that that is unacceptable considering how garbage the government there is.

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

where were these people when the contest was in Russia or in Azerbaijan? Typical double standard from the usual suspects….

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

And of course, they say that Israel in its essence is racist ‘cuz “well, how can you be a country that’s meant for only one kind of people?”.

Needless to say they hadn’t have any problems with, let’s say, “the *islamic* republic of Iran”, or “the *arab* republic of Egypt”. Oh no, it’s the joooooooooz they hate.

Jack Lawson
Editor

I’m sure Palestinians are just so relieved that a list of people agreed not to watch a song contest. How on earth would they survive without these brave souls?!?!

Joe
Guest
Joe

And since when has Roger Waters cared about Eurovision? Just enough to rant about Israel again.

Vladimir P.
Guest
Vladimir P.

In the support of Palestinian artists? How is not holding the contest in Israel helping the Palestinian artists? What are the benefits for them? All these signatories should be asked to name at least one Palestinian artist – I wonder if they know any.

NoGoeblocks
Guest
NoGoeblocks

Any country that boycotts the event should also not broadcast it. Meaning they would also have to give up participation in 2020. Otherwise it is just hypocrisy

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

It doesn’t work like this anymore, since the introduction of the semi finals a country doesn’t have to broadcast the contest in order to compete the following year.
Anyway, I believe we’ll have a large attendance in 2019. A few dozens of nobodies and has-beens don’t have much sway.

Bijou
Guest
Bijou

So…. a list of nobodies hardly anyone remembers stroking their antisemitism under the guise of being #woke? Gotcha.

Joe
Guest
Joe

And here I was calling Finland 91 underrated…

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

Hullu yö! Such an awesome entry. Sad to see Kaija’s name among all of those ‘useful idiots’.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Same for Charlie. Defending Rock n Roll Kids just got that much harder (and beyond Eurovision, I love Wolf Alice, so that’s a shame too).

Henry
Guest
Henry

All these are rejects with very little success, with the exception of the 1994 winner who’s trying to stay relevant

JohnD
Guest
JohnD

Another useless effort of the BDS (“BE THE ASS” ) movement. It is clear that the signatories have never been to Israel (nor the region) to see the REAL truth (of the situation) by themselves – and are actually only fed by the FAKE News media (about the pseudo facts there). About time they learn historical facts first before they shame and dumb themselves by signing this ludicrous petition.

oscillate
Guest
oscillate

a list of nobodies who try to be relevant.

Pancake
Guest
Pancake

You know: they can just say that they’ll boycott it because they hate Netta and all the success she’s getting. There’s no need to be jealous.

violet
Guest
violet

Are you 12? This obviously is about them disagreeing with the Israeli politics. Sometimes things are a bit more complicated than “I don’t like Netta!”

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

It’s more about ignorance and hatred than it is about ‘Israeli politics’ (definitely not ‘Nettaphobia’ LOL). I’m an Israeli lefty who is incredibly critical of the Israeli policies in recent years, in many aspects. Still I say that those calls for boycott and blaming Israel of being an genocidal apartheid country are the product of both ignorance and malice. Israel is put in an impossible situation against an enemy who sees its own people’s lives as dispensable . I’m sure the majority of the people who signed this petition know nothing about the conflict, but rather vaguely feel like they’re… Read more »

Blanc
Guest
Blanc

So basically for the most part, a lot of nobodies signed a piece of paper.

Ariso Light
Guest
Ariso Light

It’s Eurovision people! Eurovision should be able to be hosted in any country. The point of the contest is to celebrate diversity, and to include everyone! It does not matter what a country might have done, Eurovision goes beyond that. Getting politics involved in everything won’t solve our issues. When it’s Eurovision week, everyone needs to put their differences aside and just have fun! If only this idea could carry on throughout the whole year. Those so-called “Eurovision fans” that spread hate all the time miss the point of the contest. If they don’t like the idea of what Eurovision… Read more »

Clogged Arteries
Guest
Clogged Arteries

I don’t get how you can possibly preach a message of “everyone should put their differences aside during Eurovision / include everyone” when the government of Israel is basically the embodiment of the absolute opposite of both and Eurovision is positive advertisement for any country…

Thiago
Guest
Thiago

Hoe come they didnt boycott Israel participating all the years prior? Hypocrotical to do it now that they won.

Nicholai
Guest
Nicholai

That’s not how boycotting works.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

This is utterly ridiculous. Eurovision has nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian war and should be totally disconnected from politics. I really don’t understand why these people should even care about Eurovision: if you really want peace between Israel and Palestina, go fight with the army… except thinking that achieving peace by fighting violent wars is nonsense.

LavliAzeriBoy
Guest
LavliAzeriBoy

Like what they are trying to achieve with this? Boycotting Eurovision 2019 won’t solve any political problem. This is a song contest lol. I seriously find all these boycott calls just ridiculous.

Yst
Guest
Yst

Sorry but who are they anyway, they are signing it as if they were the representatives of the Eurovision artists but they are only second class ( with a very very very few exceptions) or third class ESC artists ?? Would have preferred Cyprus but Israel won, get over it…so childish.

Lloyd
Guest
Lloyd

Why shouldn’t Israel host? They have hosted it in the past. It would also be extremely unfair because these people are happy for Israel to take part in the contest but when they win they can’t reap the rewards. Either they should argue that Israel is not in the contest full stop or keep quiet.

Audrey Garside
Guest
Audrey Garside

Massive hypocrisy and double standards as per usual from the usual media Luvvies that makes one suspicious of their true motives. It seems that is only Israel that have to meet their so called “high standards”- everyone else gets a free pass. Wonder why?

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

This would have more credibility if the majority of the people signing it were from the Eurovision community. It’s hard to take musicians like Roger Waters or Brian Eno seriously on a matter relating to Eurovision. They’re both “serious musicians” who probably wouldn’t normally go anywhere near our beloved song contest.

JackTheBoy
Guest
JackTheBoy

This is just ridiculous seriously. It’s just a song contest, Israel not being able to host Eurovision won’t bring peace to Middle East anyway. Those people are just seeking attention.

Hans
Guest
Hans

I guess they also sign a letter when it was in Russia, right? or Turkey? no…? well, Thats what you call hyprocite ignotants. Israel has the right to defend itself, from their enemies and from brainless “artists” (sorry but being extremely left wing with a twisted racist agenda dosent make you an artist).

Alex
Guest
Alex

Look if Jerusalem was the host city I can see why they boycott but Tel Aviv is a peaceful city fgs.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Can’t the competition stay in Portugal?

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Also isnt it ironic how israel is hated by both the extreme left as well as the extreme right?

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Lol one big list of nobodies. An enemy of israel is an enemy of human rights. Keep remembering people: in israel you can live in freedom no matter if you are christian, jewish, or yes, even muslim ,20% of israeli people are muslims. Furthermore it is the only multi cultural country in the middle east with gay rights. Look it up.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Just to point out, being gay is not a crime here (which is already great) but gays can’t really marry here nor adopt children (it’s a very tough process here…)
We are far from getting all the rights gay people deserve but at least it’s not a crime

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

It is a valid debate to ask what criteria should a country fulfill in order to be allowed to host international events pretending to be apolitical and unifying. If you forbid Israel to host, Azerbaijan definitely should have been forbidden as well. The EBU boss woman back then defended them hosting by pointing out that only due to their hosting gig the media are even reporting on their human rights violations. I mean, I guess that is somewhat true. Since winning gets you the gig, any participating country can gain the hosting privilege, therefore the real question might be: “Who… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

Surprised Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t signed it!!

Eurovisionfan12
Guest
Eurovisionfan12

Maybe he is smart enough to know that this petition is pure garbage?