Celebrities denounce proposed boycott of Eurovision in Israel

Stephen Fry, Marina Abramović and former winner Conchita among stars describing the boycott movement as ‘an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis’

Singer Netta Barzilai, representing Israel, wins the 2018 Eurovision song contest, Lisbon, 13 May 2018.
Singer Netta Barzilai, representing Israel, wins the 2018 Eurovision song contest in Lisbon. Photograph: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

Public figures including Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne, Marina Abramovićand pop mogul Scooter Braun have signed a letter speaking out against a proposed boycott of this year’s Eurovision song contest, which is to be held in Tel Aviv in May.

Their letter states that Eurovision’s “spirit of togetherness” across the continent is “under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division”.

It continues: “We believe the cultural boycott movement is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition. While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.”

Non-profit organisation Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) are behind the letter, which has more than 100 signatories. Also among them are Gene Simmons of the band Kiss, comedian Al Murray, Countdown co-presenter Rachel Riley and former Eurovision winner Conchita.

Ari Ingel, director of CCFP, said: “The members of the entertainment industry who have signed this statement, along with the thousands of individuals who have endorsed its message, all believe in building bridges through music and the arts as a means to achieving greater understanding and peace in the region.”



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