Palestinian artists and broadcast journalists: Boycott Eurovision 2019!

Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel strategy

June 12, 2018

We, the undersigned Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and network of Palestinian cultural organizations, call on members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), participating states, contestants and the wider public to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be hosted by Israel. Would the Eurovision have held the contest in apartheid South Africa?

Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel strategy, which tries to show “Israel’s prettier face” to whitewash and distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians.

Since March 30, 2018, Israeli snipers have implemented a shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy, killing more than 117 unarmed Palestinian protesters, including 13 children, and injuring more than 13,000, leaving many with life-changing disabilities.

On May 14 alone, just two days after its Eurovision win, Israel massacred 62 Palestinians in Gaza, including six children. That same evening, Netta Barzilai, Israel’s representative at Eurovision 2018, performed a celebratory concert in Tel Aviv, hosted by the mayor, stating, “We have a reason to be happy.”

Underlining his far-right government’s art-washing agenda, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called Barzilai “the best ambassador of Israel.”

To add insult to injury, Israel has announced that the mega event will take place in Jerusalem, in defiance of the United Nations, which does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over any part of the city. The UN and the European Union also consider East Jerusalem as an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory, illegally annexed by Israel.

But regardless whether held in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or anywhere else under the control of Israel’s apartheid regime, this contest must be boycotted to avoid complicity and business-as-usual with this regime and to avoid irreversibly tarnishing the Eurovision brand with Israel’s egregious human rights record.

People of conscience around the world are reaching the same conclusion, and we are heartened by their solidarity.

In Iceland, almost 8% of the country’s population signed a petition to boycott Eurovision 2019. The Israeli consul to Iceland rushed to do damage control.

In Ireland, former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan, the Mayor of Dublin, politicians and trade union leaders called for a boycott of Eurovision 2019. Similar calls emanated from the UK, Sweden, Malta, Australia and the Spanish state, with growing public discontent reverberating across Europe.

As organizations and unions representing Palestinian artists and journalists, including broadcast journalists, we call:

  • On members of the EBU and contestants to boycott Eurovision 2019 so long as Israel is hosting it
  • On grassroots movements and artists’ unions in participating countries to protest Israel’s hosting of Eurovision 2019 and for peaceful boycott actions
  • On our colleagues, artists and broadcast journalists, to publicly support and spread this call

As in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, only through effective and sustained international pressure will Israel be compelled to comply with its obligations under international law and to respect the human rights of Palestinians.


Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Palestinian Journalists´ Syndicate

Palestinian Performing Arts Network (PPAN):

  • Edward Said National Conservatory of Music– Jerusalem
  • Al-Kamandjati Association – Ramallah
  • Magnificat Institute – Jerusalem
  • Popular Art Centre – Al Bireh
  • El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe – Al Bireh
  • Wishah Troupe – Al Bireh
  • Freedom Theater – Jenin
  • Theatre Day Productions – Gaza/Jerusalem
  • Al Harah Theater – Beit Jala
  • Ashtar Theater – Ramallah
  • Yes Theatre – Hebron
  • The Popular Theatre – Ramallah
  • Palestinian Circus School – Birzeit

Jerusalem Arts Network “Shafaq”:

  • Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art
  • The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music
  • Palestinian Art Court-Al Hoash
  • Palestinian National Theatre

Yabous Cultural Centre