Stephen Fry is among many celebrities condemning the proposed boycott of the Eurovision song contest 2019.
Sharon Osbourne, Conchita Wurst, Gene Simmons, and others all signed a letter speaking out against a proposed boycott against this year’s show. It’s set to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel, in May.
The letter, published on Tuesday (30 May), described the contest as a ‘unifying event’. Also, that it is crucial ‘to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together.
‘Unfortunately, this year, the spirit of togetherness is under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division.’
It continues: ‘We believe the cultural boycott movement is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.
‘While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.’
Hundreds signed the letter
Over 100 people signed the letter, including both international and UK stars.
The letter comes from non-profit Creative Community for Peace (CCFP).
Director of CCFP, Ari Ingel, said in a statement: ‘The members of the entertainment industry who have signed this statement along with the thousands of individuals who have endorsed its message, all believe in building bridges through music and the arts as a means to achieving greater understanding and peace in the region.’
This comes with increasing calls for people to boycott the song contest. Israel is hosting this year’s contest after singer Netta won in 2018 with her song Toy.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement claimed 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 Palestinians.’