The run-up to Eurovision 2019 has been one of the most politically-charged ever, with seemingly endless comments regarding Israel, Palestine and the relationship between the two. As we previously reported, Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters already called on Portuguese artist Conan Osiris to boycott this year’s event. And now he’s spoken out again following the announcement that Madonna will perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.
In an open letter published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Roger criticises the decision by the EBU to allow Israel to host Eurovision, and suggested that musicians should’ve stopped performing in Israel way back in 2004 when Palestinian civil society called for an academic and cultural ban of Israel. (We should point out that Pink Floyd actually performed in Neve-Shalom in Israel in June 2006 as part of their Dark Side Tour). The title of the letter is rather provocative and sums up his point of view: “If you believe in human rights, Madonna, don’t play Tel Aviv.”
He starts the letter by giving a brief lesson about the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and how this is relevant to the situation in disputed territories. He goes on to use colourful language to describe his opinion of his fellow artists who go over to Israel to perform, to help “build bridges and further the cause of peace”. He explains that “to perform in Israel is a lucrative gig but to do so serves to normalise the occupation”. He says that he supports people regardless of their religion, and says that calling him antisemitic is merely a smokescreen.
He urges all people — the young contestants in particular — to read the aforementioned UN Declaration of Human Rights as it is available in 500 languages.
Not just Madonna…
Roger has also spoken to the Greek branch of the BDS movement, and called for Katerine Duska to cancel her trip to Tel Aviv. He made the call on Wednesday, saying in Greek “going to Tel Aviv would be a big mistake, I believe”. Whilst he had already made an appeal to all 41 artists, Katerine, along with Portugal’s Conan, is one of the few artists Roger has targeted specifically. Hate to break it to him, but both of these fan favourites will be in Tel Aviv.
Some artists have come out to reject Roger’s calls, including Australia’s entrant Kate Miller-Hiedke. Kate’s response to the Associated Press was calm and reasoned. She says she has done her reading on the subject and made the personal decision that cultural boycotts don’t work that way, as people are talking about Israel now and learning about the situation there due to Eurovision being held there this year. As mentioned previously, after Conan from Portugal was called on by Roger, he also rejected the request to boycott.
Do you think Madonna will reply to Roger’s calls for a boycott on this occasion? Tweet us @wiwibloggs and leave a comment below.
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