September 10, 2018

Aussies among 140 international artists calling for Eurovision boycott if Israel involved

Aussies among 140 international artists calling for Eurovision boycott if Israel involved
Israel’s 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai, left, with Israeli culture minister Miri Regev, May 2018. Image via Facebook

Five Australians have joined a call by 140 artists – including Brian Eno, Roger Waters and Wolf Alice – for a boycott of the 2019 Eurovision song contest if it is held in Israel.

An open letter in the British newspaper The Guardian stated, “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 five Australians are Sydney hip-hop artist L-FRESH The Lion (who was a judge in 2018), Crowded House member Nick Seymour, broadcaster Helen Razer, visual artist Blak Douglas and actor and theatre director Candy Bowers.

Signees came from the music, film, theatre, media, literary graphic arts and poetry sectors from across Europe, the UK and North America.

They included from the UK Julie Christie, Alexei Sayle and Mike Leigh, while from Ireland were Luka Bloom, Mary Black, Christy Moore and Mary Coughlan.

DJs and producers included DJ Murdock (Belgium), Mouss & Hakim (France) and Olof Dreijer (Sweden).

Five Israel musicians – Aviad Albert, Michal Sapir, Ohal Grietzer, Yonatan Shapira, Yonatan Shapira and Danielle Ravitzki – also signed.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the European Broadcasting Union, which produces Eurovision, has in recent days has asked for written guarantees from the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “visitors to Israel be allowed to travel anywhere without restrictions regardless of their political opinions or sexual orientation, and that [Israeli public broadcaster] Kan have complete freedom in editing the broadcast.”

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

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