9 Eurovision participants call for ‘immediate and lasting ceasefire, safe return of all hostages’

Olly Alexander poses for photographers at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, December 1, 2023. (Millie Turner/Invision/AP)
Olly Alexander poses for photographers at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, December 1, 2023. (Millie Turner/Invision/AP)

A group of nine participants in the upcoming Eurovision song contest release a joint statement expressing their concern over “the current situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and particularly in Gaza, and in Israel.”

“We do not feel comfortable being silent,” they say in the statement, following calls to boycott Eurovision over Israel’s participation.

The performers add: “It is important to us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and communicate our heartfelt wish for peace, an immediate and lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages. We stand united against all forms of hate, including antisemitism and islamophobia.”

“We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections.”

“We feel that it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy.”

The statement was signed by the representatives of Ireland, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Switzerland, Denmark, Lithuania and Finland.

The UK’s Olly Alexander puts out a separate statement on Instagram, saying he “understands and respects” the decision of those boycotting Eurovision, but won’t do so himself.

“It is my current belief that removing myself from the contest wouldn’t bring us any closer to our shared goal,” he says. “I hope and pray that our calls are answered and there is an end to the atrocities we are seeing taking place in Gaza.”

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