Manchester Palestine Action, Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Manchester Jewish Action for Palestine posted a tweet on Monday, urging songwriters and performers to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled be held in Israel “just as they once boycotted the South African apartheid regime.”
“Israel regularly uses culture to cover up, justify and distract from its oppressive regime of military occupation and apartheid against the Palestinian people,” read the tweet.
The three groups called for a protest at the BBC Headquarters in London on December 1 to demand that the British Broadcasting Corporation withdraw from the song contest, Presstv reported.
“Join the protest and take a stand against BBC artwashing apartheid,” said the post on Twitter.
“We demand an end to Brand Israel's whitewashing of Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people, most recently the massacre of 220 unarmed protesters and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population."
“Just days after Israel's Eurovision win, Israeli forces massacred 62 Palestinians in Gaza, including six children, as they demonstrated for freedom and refugee rights. Since 'The Great Return March' protests began on March 30th, 2018 at least 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the besieged Gaza Strip. More than 18,000 others have been injured, including thousands shot with live fire,” the groups stressed.
All three pro-Palestine groups, who are part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, called on “all concerned individuals to take a stand for the Palestinians, still occupied, still violently forced from their land and still killed mercilessly under Israel's apartheid regime.”
In September, about 140 artists, including musicians, writers, actors, directors, novelists, and poets signed a letter calling for the boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.
The letter signed by the 140 artists, including six Israeli artists, demanded the song contest should be boycotted if it is “hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights.”
“Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights," the letter said.
It also referred to how Israel massacred more than 60 Palestinians in Gaza on May 14 alone, just two days after Netta Barzilai won Eurovision 2018, securing for Israel the right to host next year’s edition of the celebrated contest.
Israeli officials in charge of combating the global solidarity for Palestine see hosting of Eurovision as a “national project” and the regime is spending millions of dollars to stage the event they hope will help whitewash Israel’s image, especially in the wake of its recent massacres of Great March of Return protesters in Gaza.
Eurovision officials have previously expressed concern about Israel’s efforts to use the song contest as part of its international propaganda campaign, including by initially insisting that it be held in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
But Israel backed down from the demand in June, and said that the occupied city would be only one of several possible venues, including Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat.
With the possibilities reportedly narrowed down to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the announcement of the host city is expected any day.
“We understand that the European Broadcasting Union is demanding that Israel finds a ‘non-divisive’ location for the 2019 Eurovision,” the artists stated in their letter reported by The Guardian – a reference to how Tel Aviv is viewed by Eurovision officials as a less controversial location than the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
But the artists assert that the European Broadcasting Union “should cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a defendable human rights record."
“Injustice divides, while the pursuit of dignity and human rights unites,” read the letter by the artists.