An open letter has been published by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the West Bank calling on the Vogue singer to boycott the 18 May event over what it has claimed is the Israeli government’s continuing effort ‘to mask its deepening oppression of Palestinians’.
The 60-year-old is expected to hit the stage at the annual competition in Tel Aviv with the European Broadcasting Union confirming to Haaretz that the singer will perform two songs.
But the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) – part of a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign – has alleged her appearance would be used as propaganda by the Israeli government.
‘Palestinians hope that you will not undermine our struggle for freedom, justice and equality by performing at Eurovision in apartheid Tel Aviv, on the ruins of the ethnically-cleansed village of al-Shaykh Muwannis,’ the letter reads.
‘The call from Palestinian artists to boycott Eurovision hosted by Israel is supported by more than 100,000 people signing petitions, over 100 LGBTQIA groups, more than 20 Israeli artists, and hundreds of prominent international artists including the 1994 Eurovision winner.
‘Israel’s fanatic, far-right government is cynically exploiting your performance, and those of the contestants, to mask its deepening oppression of Palestinians.’
Recent statements from the United Nations condemned Israel for what it said were human rights violations. Roger Water, Brian Eno and filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh have all recently signed a letter published in The Guardian backing an appeal from Palestinian artists.
Other signatories include novelist Yann Martel, actress Julie Christie, writer and director Peter Kosminsky and British band Wolf Alice.
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is due to be held in Israel after the 2018 contest was won by Israel entry Netta with her song Toy.