Leading artists from Europe and beyond call for boycott of Eurovision if hosted by Israel

Lana Del Rey recently pulled out of a festival in the Middle Eastern country

Wolf Alice, Brian Eno, The Knife and Eurovision finalists including the 1994 winner are calling for a boycott of the 2019 contest if it is held in Israel.

Israel is expected to host the competition next May following Netta Barzilai’s victory this year.

But in an open letter to The Guardian a host of artists, including 1994 winner for Ireland, Charlie McGettigan, are calling for a boycott stating: “Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights to all humans, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights.”

Among the signatories, are Crowded House’s Nick Seymour, Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer, formerly of The Knife, film directors Alain Guiraudie, winner of best director at Cannes 2013, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Eyal Sivan and Aki Kaurismäki, Icelandic Eurovision national selection 2017 finalists Daði Freyr and Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir, and Norwegian musician Moddi.

The letter concludes: “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 Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, added:  “Eurovision organisers have demanded that Israel respect freedom of expression and movement as a condition of hosting the contest.

“Senior Israeli ministers have outright rejected this, insisting on enforcing Israel’s repressive, anti-democratic legislation. Eurovision organisers should heed the calls of Eurovision finalists (including one winner), presenters, commentators and judges, as well as the wider community of artists, and move the contest from Israel altogether.”

It comes after Lana Del Rey recently pulled out of Israel’s Meteor festival following controversy about her appearance.

She faced a backlash from pro-Palestine campaigners and Pink Floyd‘s Roger Waters.

Last year, both Nick Cave and Radiohead both performed in Israel – with the latter causing a lengthy row with Pink Floyd’s Roger Walters.

In contrast, Lorde bowed to pressure and cancelled a 2018 show in December last year.