2 December 2018

Support the Campaign to Boycott Eurovision 2019

No 2 Artwashing Apartheid

On 30th November 2018, Inminds human rights group carried out a guerilla projection on BBC Broadcasting House, the global headquarters of the BBC, to ask the BBC to boycott next years Eurovision Song Contest which is scheduled to be held in apartheid Israel. The BBC is part of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) which produces the Eurovision Song Contest.
Israel is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official 'Brand Israel' strategy, which presents “Israel’s prettier face” to whitewash and distract attention from its war crimes against the Palestinian people. Israel massacred 62 Palestinians in Gaza, including six children just two days after its 2018 Eurovision win. That same evening, Netta Barzilai performed a celebratory concert in Tel Aviv, hosted by the mayor, and said, “We have a reason to be happy.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called Barzilai “the best ambassador of Israel,” underlining his far-right government’s Eurovision art-washing agenda.
Palestinians arts and cultural organisations along with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate have called on European Broadcasting Union (EBU) members, including the BBC, to boycott Eurovision 2019 if its hosted by Israel. The statement asked the EBU "Would the Eurovision have held the contest in apartheid South Africa?"
Nearly 150 Artists, including Eurovision winners, judges and broadcasters have all supported the Palestinian call to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 if held in Israel.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "Its unacceptable that something as culturally prestigious as the iconic Eurovision Song Contest, which is meant to bring people together through music, is handed over to an apartheid regime to use to whitewash its bloody crimes against the Palestinian people, to drown out the screams of those being slaughtered in Gaza. The BBC as a leading member of the European Broadcasting Union, organising the Eurovision, is directly culpable in this whitewashing. We are here to ask the BBC to serve its licence payers by taking a moral stand against racism, and pull out of next years Eurovision if its held in Israel."
The projection lasted over an hour during which time many passers by and BBC employees came to congratulate us for voicing their own concerns of how inappropriate it would be for the Eurovision to be hosted by Israel, and shameful for the BBC to support it.

Further Information

BDS Movement - Boycott Eurovision 2019
Palestinian artists and broadcast journalists: Boycott Eurovision 2019!
Boycott Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel - Artists from Europe and beyond support the appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott the contest next year
Quotes from Signatories of Boycott Eurovision 2019 Artists’ Letter
Support the Campaign to Boycott Eurovision 2019
Inspired by conscientious artists who shunned Sun City in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, Palestinian artists and cultural organizations have called for nonviolent pressure in the form of boycotts on Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law.
Israel effectively declared itself an apartheid state by adopting the "Jewish Nation-State Law." Palestinian citizens are now constitutionally denied equal rights. Holding Eurovision 2019 in Israel whitewashes apartheid.
Shortly after her win, Barzilai said she looked forward to the world seeing “the Israeli carnival” when Jerusalem hosts the contest next year. People will see “how wonderful we are, what a vibe we have. Best people… the best place in the world.”
Straight out of apartheid South Africa’s propaganda playbook, Israel uses the arts to explicitly deflect growing condemnations of its violations of Palestinian human rights. Israel is using Eurovision to art-wash its egregious crimes against the Palestinian people.
·         BRAND ISRAEL
·         JERUSALEM
“Brand Israel” is an Israeli government public relations strategy that was initiated in 2005. Brand Israel aims to “improve the country’s image abroad”  by “avoiding any discussion of the conflict with the Palestinians” and representing the country “as relevant and modern rather than only as a place of fighting and religion.”
Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who in 2012 compared African asylum seekers to cancer and incited mob violence against them, is reportedly seeking government approval of and involvement in the video clips played between songs at next year's contest.

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