As the Eurovision contest in Israel approaches, you may be considering hosting a Eurovision party. On most years, the Eurovision Grand Final is a fun, inclusive, gay- and queer-friendly event. However, this year, Palestinian artists and broadcast journalists are appealing to members of the European Broadcasting Union, participating states, contestants and the wider public to boycott the contest, which is being hosted in Tel Aviv.
Inspired by conscientious artists who shunned Sun City in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, these Palestinian artists and cultural organizations have called for nonviolent pressure in the form of boycotts on Israel until it ends its own apartheid regime and complies with its obligations under international law.
Calls to boycott Eurovision 2019 are now spreading across Europe and beyond and include appeals from former Eurovision commentators and presenters, as well as from trade unions and political parties. The UK band, The Tuts, courageously announced that they had refused an invitation to participate in the BBC’s Eurovision selection show, You Decide, in a widely-shared tweet. Scores of leading artists, including Eurovision finalists and one winner, have echoed the call to boycott the contest. And tens of thousands of people have signed petitions supporting the call.
Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel propaganda strategy. To this end, the Israeli government portrays itself as a promoter of LGBTQ+ rights and cynically sells Tel Aviv, in particular, as a gay-friendly tourist destination. This propaganda technique obscures the struggles of queer and gay Palestinians as they resist Israeli occupation and apartheid as well as homophobia.
Last year, Israeli forces killed 290 Palestinians and injured more than 20,000, including thousands shot with live sniper fire in the besieged Gaza Strip. Also last year, Israel effectively declared itself an apartheid state by adopting the controversial "Jewish Nation-State” law. Palestinian citizens are now constitutionally denied equal rights.
As queers, allies and supporters of Palestinian rights as well as customers, we ask you to refrain from hosting a Eurovision party on 18 May and instead consider holding an apartheid-free Eurovision party. We have compiled a host of resources to help you put together an alternative Eurovision party. Please consider standing in solidarity with Palestinians by saying no to the artwashing and pinkwashing of Israeli apartheid. We pledge to support you in this endeavour and would also be very happy to meet with you to discuss it further. We’d also be happy to discuss an alternative initiative you may wish to adopt.
For more information on the Boycott Eurovision 2019 campaign, see our website: https://boycotteurovision.uk/.
Name of organisations(s)
[Try to find a broad coalition of organisations to sign the letter, for example social justice, feminist, anti-racist, and/or LGBTQ+ groups!]