Palestinian artists are calling on Eurovision contestants to boycott the international music competition that Israel is hosting next week.
The Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Artists Association said Wednesday that Israel was using the event to “perpetuate oppression, promote injustice or whitewash a brutal apartheid regime.”
The artists cited the killing of over 60 Palestinians — 50 of whom were Hamas members, according to the terror group — during Gaza border protests and riots on May 14 last year, the same day Israel won the Eurovision, winning the right to host the 2019 edition.
The association held a sit-in outside the European Union’s Gaza office and wrote a letter of protest.
Palestinian terror groups fired almost 700 rockets at Israeli cities and communities over the weekend. Israel retaliated with airstrikes. Four Israeli civilians were killed, as well some 25 Palestinians, including at least 10 terrorists. The renewed violence threatened to disrupt the Eurovision festivities slated to begin May 14.
Supporters of the BDS movement, a Palestinian-led campaign advocating boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, have been calling on artists to pull out of this year’s contest because of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Activists have also been rumored to be planning to travel to Israel to disrupt the event, and Iceland’s representatives have threatened to protest onstage.
Singer Netta Barzilai’s win last year with the catchy pop anthem “Toy” earned Israel the honor of hosting the 2019 Eurovision competition. Thousands of tourists are expected to arrive in Tel Aviv for the campy, gay-friendly spectacle. The semifinals will be held on May 14 and 16, followed by the grand final on May 18.