Eurovision: Peter Gabriel, Vivienne Westwood and more urge BBC to move the competition from Israel

Peter Gabriel, Vivienne Westwood and Roger Waters are among those British cultural figures to sign an open letter asking the BBC to push Eurovision on moving the competition from Israel. “Eurovision may be light entertainment,” the letter published in The Guardian reads, ”but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights.” Israel are set to host the singing competition after the country’s entry – Netta, with the song “Toy” – won the 2018 edition. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, had wanted to hold the 2019 competition in Jerusalem, but the city’s nationality has been heavily disputed, with Palestine claiming ownership over the Israeli-occupied area. The competition will instead take place in Tel Aviv. The letter, also signed by the band Wolf Alice and director Mike Leigh, continues: “The European Broadcasting Union chose Tel Aviv as the venue over occupied Jerusalem – but this does nothing to protect.”

Palestinians from land theft, evictions, shootings, beatings and more by Israel’s security forces. “When discrimination and exclusion are so deeply embedded, Eurovision 2019’s claim to celebrate diversity and inclusion must ring hollow. Much more in tune with ‘inclusivity’ is the outpouring of support across Europe for the Palestinian call for artists and broadcasters not to go to Tel Aviv. “The BBC is bound by its charter to ‘champion freedom of expression’. It should act on its principles and press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed.” Others to have signed the letter include actor Maxine Peake, director Ken Loach and the writer AL Kennedy.

The BBC spokesperson told The Independent that they would still be showing this year’s Eurovision. “The Eurovision Song Contest is not a political event and does not endorse any political message or campaign,” “The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity.”

Adapted from:https://uk.news.yahoo.com/eurovision-peter-gabriel-vivienne-westwood- Jack Shepherd The Independent 30 /01/2019

Distributed by PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)