Music icons urge support for Israel in Eurovision

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Music icons urge support for Israel in Eurovision

Gene Simmons of Kiss and Boy George among 400 entertainers making Israel's case to stay in annual music contest

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Netta Barzilai brought victory for Israel at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with her song, Toy
Netta Barzilai brought victory for Israel at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with her song, Toy

More than 400 big names from the entertainment industry in America and the UK have signed an open letter in support of the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) public commitment to include Israel in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest.

The letter comes in response to demands that Israel should not be invited to take part in the contest, coming from those calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas. Israel has won the contest four times and hosted it three times.

William meets singer Netta Barzilai, who won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, at the Espresso Bar Kiosk at Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Avi (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images).

The signatories of the new letter, co-ordinated by the non-profit organisation Creative Community for Peace, argues that Eurovision, “with more viewers than the Super Bowl, is a celebration of unity and should not be used as a tool for politics”.

Those who have signed the letter include entertainers as varied as Israeli-born Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, who declared: “Those advocating to exclude an Israeli singer from Eurovision don’t move the needle towards peace, but only further divide the world,” to Britain’s own Boy George, Sharon Osbourne, and actors Helen Mirren, Joshua Malina, Liev Schreiber, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Julianna Margulies, Mayim Bialik and Debra Messing.

Mayim Bialik said: “After a horrendous violent attack on Israeli civilians, calls for boycotts and excluding Israeli artists from international events simply because they are Israeli is abhorrent and shameful. Targeting Israeli musicians in this way tarnishes the unifying spirit that is Eurovision.”



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