The Palestinian Artists Association has urged contestants and singers to boycott the 2019 Eurovision contest being held in Israel.
The Gaza-based association participated in a sit-in protest outside the European Union’s office in Gaza. The group also released an open letter to the world, urging them to boycott Israel.
The open letter draws comparisons to apartheid South Africa, asking if participants would have performed for that regime.
“Would you have defied the call from blacks in South Africa suffering horrific and violent racism and subjugation, while Nelson Mandela and so many others were caged for years in Robben Island prison? Musicians stood on the right side of history then and were proved right.
“Ask yourself what your legacy will be if you perform in Israel, when South African Anti-Apartheid heroes like Ronnie Kasrils, Desmond Tutu and even Mzewelivelile Mandla Mandela, the Grandson of Nelson Mandela, have all called for a boycott.”
Madonna’s announcement that she will be performing at Eurovision 2019 prompted pro-Palestinian groups to call for a boycott. Roger Waters, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, urged Madonna to reconsider and cancel her performance.
The 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is being held in Tel Aviv from May 14 – May 18.
The date coincides with the time when Palestinians mark the Nakba Day, the 71st anniversary of being expelled from their homes following Israel’s creation. The association finished its open letter to contestants by asking them to see through the way Israel uses international events to its advantage.
“We ask you to see through the shameless way Israel uses musicians and artists to whitewash its crimes, providing a veil of normalcy to a state that for decades has dispossessed and imprisoned our entire population.
“We love music and have wonderful artists, but if our musicians have not been killed or injured, we are denied travel to perform and learn music abroad by Israel’s siege.”