Wolf Alice’s Joff Oddie says Israel is trying to “whitewash over their human rights abuses” with Eurovision

He made the comments after signing an open letter calling for a boycott of this year's contest

Wolf Alice guitarist Joff Oddie has claimed that Israel is using the Eurovision Song Contest to “whitewash” its alleged human rights abuses.

The 2018 Mercury Music Prize winners were among a number of musicians including Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters to sign an open letter earlier this year calling for the BBC to cancel its coverage of the competition in Tel Aviv.

Oddie told Sky News that Israel, the hosts of this year’s event, are “serial human rights abusers” who “use culture to art wash” and “whitewash over their human rights abuses”.

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He added that the letter and the boycott “are responding to a call from Palestinian civil society.

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“We asked Palestine – ‘do you want us to come?’ ‘No – do not come’ and that’s what you do, you respect the people who are being oppressed,” he added.

Israel is hosting the 2019 competition on Saturday (May 18) after the country’s Netta Barzilai won the 2018 contest with the song ‘Toy’.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement has been rallying support for a complete cultural boycott of Israel since 2005. It claims that Israel has violated Palestinian human rights which cannot be ignored.

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Elsewhere, Madonna has spoken about performing at the 2019 event following calls from protesters for her to pull out.

The pop icon, who released her comeback single ‘Medellin’ last month, told Reuters: “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.

“My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict,” she continued. “I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace.”

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