‘Eurovision’ Artists Issue Statement Amid Calls to Boycott Over Israel

March 29, 2024

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A group of artists set to perform in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest — including England’s Olly Alexander — issued a statement defending their participation amid calls to boycott Israel’s presence in this year’s competition.

In recent weeks, groups ranging from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to Queers for Palestine — which specifically called on Alexander, who previously said Israel was an “apartheid state,” to withdraw — have sought to have Israel expelled from Eurovision over the continued conflict in Gaza.

In a statement Friday (via NME), the Eurovision performers from countries like Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, and the U.K.’s Alexander banded together in response to the growing calls for boycott, stating, “We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections.”

“In light of the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and particularly in Gaza, and in Israel, we do not feel comfortable being silent,” the statement shared on Alexander’s social media read. 

“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.”

The statement continued, “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.”

Israel will be represented by Eden Golan’s “October Rain” in the competition. The song has already undergone “necessary adjustments” to its lyrics — which referenced the victims of the October 7 Hamas attack — in order to ensure their participation in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

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In February, a group including Kiss’ Gene Simmons, Sharon Osbourne, Boy George, and Diane Warren signed a Creative Community for Peace open letter in support of Israel’s presence in the Eurovision Song Contest. That letter was in response to the many open letters from participating artists’ countries calling for Israel to withdraw from the competition.

“Music unites people from all backgrounds,” the Creative Community for Peace statement read. “It’s the one language that everyone can understand. It’s a beautiful thing and a great way to bring people together. Those advocating to exclude an Israeli singer from Eurovision don’t move the needle towards peace, but only further divide the world.”



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