A NUMBER of Australian artists and musicians have joined more than 130 performers from around the globe calling for a boycott of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.
In a letter published over the weekend, the performers wrote, “Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights.”
The letter also claimed that a few days after Israel’s Eurovision victory this year, “the Israeli army killed 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza” adding, “Eurovision 2019 should be boycotted if it is hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights.”
Urging organisers to relocate the contest to a country with a better human rights record, the letter concluded, “Injustice divides, while the pursuit of dignity and human rights unites.”
Australian signatories included radio presenter and writer Helen Razer; founding member of Crowded House Nick Seymour; hip-hop artist Fresh the Lion, who served as a judge for Eurovision 2018; writer and actor Candy Bowers; and artist Blak Douglas.
Claiming the BDS campaign is “at its core antisemitic” and stating that “launching a cultural war against Israel is immoral”, Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti Defamation Commission asked, “Did these artists call for the Eurovision show that was hosted by Russia in 2009 to be cancelled or for any other country that won to be denied that right? BDS tactics and double standards fly in the face of the universal values that drive music – the power to unite people, dialogue between nations, fairness, inclusivity and non-discrimination.”
He added, “The letter these Australian performers signed is riddled with errors, lacks context and is entirely divorced from what happened on the ground.”
Reference in the letter to the deaths of Palestinians in May ignored the fact that those storming the Gaza border had been incited to both kill and kidnap Israelis.
Abramovich went on to say that the letter “will do nothing to promote the cause of peace or reconciliation, but will only deepen divisions between Israelis and Palestinians”.