Eurovision states in its rules that the contest is a “non-political event”. Yet ever since Israel won the 2018 edition we’ve seen and heard many voices that have called on their nations to boycott the event. Eurovision 2018 winner, Netta, has chosen to speak up. When she was asked about that issue recently, she said that there is a place for a healthy dialogue but that boycotting isn’t the answer.
As a part of Netta’s promotion of her new single “Bassa Sababa”, which has already reached three million views on YouTube since its release on Friday, she has given interviews to both local and international media.
Among the expected questions regarding the song, her message and Eurovision, she was also asked about the BDS movement that is calling to boycott the upcoming contest in Tel Aviv.
Netta looked quite emotional and sincere while speaking about the issue and said:
“When people are boycotting they might go against their own beliefs. I want a dialogue, a healthy one ,here, but boycotting isn’t an answer and Eurovision isn’t the place for politics, it’s a place of coming together and spreading light.”
In another interview she added and said:
“I believe in a protest, it’s ok, I don’t believe in boycotting. Eurovision is a European contest, it’s not Israel, it’s a world-wide thing. We are taking part. I encourage other people to come and take part.”
As we previously reported, the European Broadcasting Union is also dealing with that issue as part of its preparations for the contest and has sent a special letter to all national delegations participating in Eurovision in Tel Aviv. The letter contains precautions and sets out measures participants and broadcasters can follow should they face difficulty for participating in the contest this year.
Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the contest, reinforced the important non-political nature of the contest back in November.
“We cannot allow politics to interfere. We have been very clear about it since the beginning. The Israeli politicians also understand that any politicisation of the contest will look bad. The best way to introduce Israel to the world is to do Eurovision without any politics involved or any manipulation. People see these things instantly.”
In response to potential boycotts suggested by artists and individuals, Jon Ola Sand expressed his dismay, but also his unwavering support for the non-political nature of the contest. He sought to deter activists who aim to make a political statement.
“We do not want Eurovision to be used as a platform for any political aims. So if there is a fan who is also an activist, we do not think that this is a positive thing. We want people to come to Israel and enjoy – that’s it. There is nothing I can do about people’s perception of Israel. Whatever they think about Israel is their own opinion. However, the EBU is an organisation with clear policies — no politics of any kind is allowed. In fact, no country has announced that it intends to boycott Eurovision, and it is now a fact that Israel will host Eurovision.”
With the contest only months away, a safe and secure contest remains the highest priority – so fans, contestants and delegations can enjoy all that Tel Aviv brings. Love, love, peace, peace!
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Photo credit: Haaretz
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