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. 


  1. Wow, this might make a trip to Israel from the U.S. this next springtime a much less expensive proposition. A boycott by humanist will allow more American Christians and Jews of moderate means to travel to Israel to enjoy the Eurovision AND to tour the country God gave to the Jews and by extension, Christians who worship the Jewish Messiah – Jesus the Christ.

  2. So…. basically a load of petty, feeble minded nobodies hardly anyone cares about nor remembers trying to stay \”cool\” and \”relevant\” by stroking their antisemitism under the guise of being #woke? Gotcha.

  3. Peace, Peace, love, love. Eurovision was and is a non political song competition. Whatever strong opinions some people have about the political climate of a country, those who love Eurovision like myself also have their strong opinions about the ESC, among them is that politics should stay out of the ESC. These opinions don\’t belong to this event and I expect the media covering of this event also to take notice. Whatever vitriol some people need to throw at some country for winning and earning the right to host the event, there are other venues for that. ESC is not one of them. As a fan Eurovision is at its best when it focuses on celebrating other countries culture and music in a big party with exaggerated costumes, ridicules lyrics, diverse musical genres and artists. Political vitriol has no place there.

  4. So Charlie McGettigan is the most prominent name among the former Eurovision participants to have signed the letter. Who is he again??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button