Australian artists are joining the more than 140 international artists in the call for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 if it goes ahead in Israel next May, says BDS Australia.
Inspired by the conscientious artists who refused to perform in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, Palestinian artists and cultural groups have called for non-violent pressure in the form of boycotts on Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law.
Prominent Australians who have signed the international statement so far include Crowded House’s Nick Seymour, former JJJ host and writer Helen Razer, hip-hop artist and judge in this year’s contest L-FRESH The LION, writer, director and multidisciplinary artist Candy Bowers, and Sydney-based contemporary Aboriginal artist Blak Douglas.
“Israel’s long record of ongoing discrimination and its decades long breaches of international law and human rights means it’s entirely inappropriate for next year’s song contest to go ahead in Israel,” said Samah Sabawi, the award-winning Australian playwright and spokesperson for the Australian campaign to boycott Eurovision 2019.
“Palestinian artists are calling on musicians and other artists to do the right thing and put human rights ahead of fame, royalties or advertising dollars,” Sabawi said. “More than 130 civilian protesters were just shot dead by Israeli snipers earlier this year in Gaza. How can the world ignore this ongoing lawlessness for a song contest?”
By entrenching its occupation of Palestinian land and recently adopting the Jewish Nation-State Law, Israel has declared itself an apartheid state. Palestinian citizens inside Israel are now denied equal rights, millions of refugees and their descendants are not permitted to return.
Palestinians under Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank also continue to be subjected to measures that violate their basic human rights. These include siege, bombardment, house demolition and arbitrary detentions.
By holding Eurovision 2019 in Israel, international broadcasters and artists will be complicit in whitewashing these violations.
“Israel takes its propaganda cues straight out of apartheid South Africa’s playbook,” said Sabawi. “Art is used explicitly to deflect criticism of its human rights violations.
“We urge SBS not to participate or broadcast Eurovision 2019 if it is in Israel. We love SBS and we love Eurovision, but surely human rights are more valuable than a song contest? Surely international law is more important than advertising dollars?”
BDS Australia has launched an online petition calling on SBS not to participate in Eurovision 2019.
Prominent international musicians who have refused to perform in Israel so far include: Shakira, Lorde, Lauryn Hill, Chuck D, Massive Attack, Rogers Waters, Patti Smith, Annie Lennox, Faithless, Brian Eno, The Pixies, Thurston Moore, Elvis Costello and Cat Power, among many others.
L-FRESH The LION, the hip-hop artist who was one of the Australian SBS Eurovision judges this year, said: “As an artist and musician, I don’t see how Eurovision can achieve its goal of bringing the world together through music by having its 2019 competition in Israel, while Israel continues to violently occupy Palestine.”