PARIS—The Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) has expressed outrage at the BDS campaign against Israel hosting the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest after former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters led a call by 100 artists to boycott the event ‘’until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights.’’
In a letter to European Broadcasting Union (EBU) President, Jean-Paul Philippot, SWC Director for International Relations, Shimon Samuels, highlighted that Roger Waters’s call on the EBU to cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and to hold it in another country is in violation of your strategy and above mission statement celebrating democracy.”
In May, Israel won in Lisbon its fourth victory in the Eurovision Song Contest with Netta Barzilai’s song ‘Toy’’ who led with 529 points followed by Cyprus as runner-up with 436.
The letter added: “these votes for Netta came mainly from a worldwide ‘telephone call-in’ underpinning the EBU’s Director-General, Noel Curran’s statement: ‘Public service [media]is the bedrock of democratic societies. Our role is to champion its values and ensure our Members are able to continue to play a vital role in European culture, society and public discourse’.”
Samuels argued, “unfortunately, the EBU has an enemy, bent upon the destruction of its democratic values. He is Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame, but a notorious hatemonger against the Jewish State,” continuing, “how could this be possible as we recall his 1989 dramatic concert – in the cradle of the Holocaust – at the fallen Berlin Wall, leaving as its anthem Just Another Brick in the Wall?”
The Centre stressed that, “we pray for the day that Palestinians might breach their walls of hate and come together with Israelis as one. That might have been in 1947, had they followed the Jews in accepting the United Nations Partition Resolution, rather than launch a war of aggression. ‘Palestine’, this year might have – together with Israel – feted its 70th birthday. It may have even participated in the Eurovision Song Contest.”
Seventeen EBU member countries have already confirmed their participation in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel : Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.
While the EBU was slated to announce the host city, either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, it has delayed the decision. An EBU spokesman said that “Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have both submitted extremely strong bids which meet the needs of the contest. We are examining the proposals carefully in order to choose the best overall location for next year’s event.”