10 September 2018
MEDIA RELEASE: BDS Australia launches Boycott Eurovision 2019 Campaign with 2018 SBS judge L-FRESH The LION* saying no to Eurovision in Israel.
Australian artists are at the top of the list of more than 140 international artists who are calling for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 if it goes ahead in Israel next May. The letter was published on Friday: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/sep/07/boycott-eurovision-song-contest-hosted-by-israel
Inspired by conscientious artists who shunned Sun City in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, Palestinian artists and cultural organisations have called for nonviolent pressure in the form of boycotts on Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law.
Prominent Australians who have signed the international statement so far include Crowded House’s Nick Seymour, former JJJ host and writer Helen Razer, this year’s Eurovision judge, hip hop artist L-FRESH The LION, writer, director and multidisciplinary artist Candy Bowers, and Sydney-based contemporary Aboriginal artist, Blak Douglas.
“Israel’s long record of ongoing discrimination and its decades long breaches of international law and human rights means it’s entirely inappropriate for next year’s song contest to go ahead in Israel,” said Samah Sabawi, award-winning Australian playwright and spokesperson for the Australian campaign to boycott Eurovision 2019.
“Palestinian artists are calling on musicians and other artists to do the right thing and put human rights ahead of fame, royalties or advertising dollars,” Ms Sabawi said. “More than 130 civilian protesters were just shot dead by Israeli snipers earlier this year in Gaza. How can the world ignore this ongoing lawlessness for a song contest?”
By entrenching its occupation of Palestinian land and adopting the Jewish Nation-State Law, Israel has declared itself an apartheid state. Palestinian citizens inside Israel are now denied equal rights, millions of refugees and their descendants are not permitted to return, and Palestinians under Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank continue to be subjected to measures that violate their basic human rights. These include siege, bombardment, house demolition and arbitrary detentions. By holding Eurovision 2019 in Israel, international broadcasters and artists will be complicit in whitewashing these violations.
“Israel takes its propaganda cues straight out of apartheid South Africa’s playbook. Art is used explicitly to deflect criticism of its human rights violations,” said Ms Sabawi.
“We urge SBS not to participate or broadcast Eurovision 2019 if it is in Israel. We love SBS and we love Eurovision, but surely human rights are more valuable than a song contest? Surely international law is more important than advertising dollars?” she said.
BDS Australia has launched an online petition calling on SBS not to participate in Eurovision 2019.
The petition is at https://bdsaustralia.good.do/boycotteurovision2019/petition-SBS/
Prominent international musicians who have refused to perform in Israel so far include: Shakira, Lorde, Lauryn Hill, Chuck D, Massive Attack, Rogers Waters, Patti Smith, Annie Lennox, Faithless, Brian Eno, The Pixies, Thurston Moore, Elvis Costello and Cat Power.
Contact BDS Australia at 0425282450 and [email protected]
*Statement from L-FRESH The LION:
“I stand with the people of Palestine. As an artist and musician, I don’t see how Eurovision can achieve its goal of bringing the world together through music by having its 2019 competition in Israel, while Israel continues to violently occupy Palestine. In respecting Palestinian’s call for a cultural boycott of Israel, I encourage my peers to do the same. We all have a part to play. We cannot remain silent or be complicit in the suffering of Palestinian people.”