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Palestinian artists in Gaza urge Eurovision singers to boycott Israel

Palestinians and allies pledged to boycott the 2019 contest over Israel's occupation. [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 May, 2019

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Palestinian artists are calling on Eurovision song contest contestants to boycott the international music competition that Israel is hosting next week.
Palestinian artists are calling on Eurovision song contestants to boycott the international music competition that Israel is hosting next week.

The Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Artists Association said on Wednesday that Israel is using the event to "perpetuate oppression, promote injustice or whitewash a brutal apartheid regime."

The artists cited the killing of over 60 Palestinians during Gaza border protests on May 14 last year, the same day Israel won the Eurovision.

The association held a sit-in outside the EU's Gaza office and wrote a letter of protest.

Activists supporting the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement often campaign for international performances in Israel to be cancelled and Eurovision has been no exception.

After Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won the 2018 Eurovision contest in Portugal, Palestinians and allies pledged to boycott the 2019 contest over the occupation of Palestine.

Earlier this year a 50-strong coalition of British cultural superstars said the BBC should call for the annual competition to be moved over Israel's "systematic violation of Palestinian human rights".

"The BBC is bound by its charter to 'champion freedom of expression'," the group stated in a letter published in The Guardian newspaper.

"It should act on its principles and press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed."

The BDS movement began in 2005 following a call by 170 Palestinian civil society groups.

Its supporters take inspiration from the campaign used by international activists to end apartheid in South Africa by isolating Israel politically and economically.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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