Tel Aviv 2019

A letter from artists across Europe and beyond calls for Israeli Eurovision boycott

Published in the letters section of The Guardian on Friday, 7th September 2018, many big names from across European culture and arts have signed a formal letter calling for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 hosted by Israel. This is in support of the “heartfelt appeal from Palestinian artists”. The opening paragraph of the letter goes on to outline that “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”.

Eurovision names amongst the undersigned

1994 winner Charlie McGettigan, from Ireland, is the most prominent Eurovision name on the list. He is joined by Icelandic national final runner-up Daði Freyr (2017) and Finnish representatives Kaija Kärkinen (1991) and Kyösti Laihi (1988).

Daði Freyr was amongst a list of Icelandic artists who formally asked RÚV to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 if it was to be held in Israel, including Páll Óskar who represented the nation in 1997.

Charlie McGettigan is joined on the list by eight-time commentator for Ireland, Mike Murphy, and the set designer for Riverdance, Robert Ballagh. Robert Ballagh had already made his feelings known earlier this summer in a public protest favouring a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, alongside host of the 1997 contest, Carrie Crowley.

A wide range of arts and culture from across Europe represented in call for boycott

From the world of arts and culture, esteemed director Ken Loach, comedian Alexei Sayle and alternative rock band Wolf Alice are amongst the biggest names on the list from the United Kingdom.

Finland’s most successful, and highly respected, film director Aki Kaurismäki is another of the undersigned. Danish Hollywood actor Jesper Christensen, the mysterious Mr. White from the most recent series of James Bond films led by Daniel Craig, is also on the list.

N’toko, a successful freestyle rapper from Slovenia, adds to the diversity of the arts represented in the letter.

Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, to secure Israel’s fifth win. She scored 529 points with her song “Toy”.

“Toy” was performed 22nd in the running order for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

Have your say on the boycott, the pending host city announcement and the difficulties surrounding the Israeli hosting of the contest in the comments below or on social media @ESCXTRA but please keep it clean and respectful. 


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