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Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne and more say calls for Eurovision boycott turn “a tool of unity into a weapon of division”

By | Published on Tuesday 30 April 2019

Eurovision Song Contest

Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne, Gene Simmons and comedian Al Murray are among various people from the creative industries to sign a letter opposing calls for a boycott of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. A number of music industry reps are also among the names on the list, including Scooter Braun, Glassnote’s Daniel Glass, Downtown’s Andrew Gould, BMG’s Zach Katz, JEM Artists’ Colin Lester, and artist manager Jonathan Shalit.

There have been various calls to boycott this year’s Eurovision due to it taking place in Israel. In January, creative types including Peter Gabriel, Wolf Alice and Reverend And The Makers joined the Boycott, Divestment And Sanctions movement – which calls for the cultural boycott of Israel over its policies towards Palestine – in pressuring the BBC not to broadcast the contest.

Since Madonna announced that she would be performing at the event, there have also been various calls for her to withdraw.

However, the new counter-protest to these protests, which has been put together by an organisation known as Creative Community For Peace, says that “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”.

“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”, the statement goes on. “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”.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place in Tel Aviv in May.