Producer and composer Brian Eno has issued an appeal to the UK’s Eurovision entrant Michael Rice to protest the contest’s hosting by Israel.
Writing in The Guardian, Eno urges Michael Rice, who won the BBC’s You Decide contest earlier this month, to “help to ensure that Eurovision 2019 will be remembered as an occasion of principled protest, not another episode of cultural whitewashing”.
Eno, who was one of more than a hundred artists to support the Palestinian call to boycott Eurovision hosted by Israel in an open letter last September, says that “European broadcasters are pushing ahead with plans to hold the contest in Tel Aviv this May, as if broadcasting a hugely expensive entertainment spectacle from an actively repressive apartheid-like state is no problem at all.”
The government of Israel, argues Eno, “uses art as propaganda, to distract from its immoral and illegal behaviour.” He continues: “I understand Rice’s joy at being selected … But when he believes ‘it’s not my place to say’ whether Eurovision should be relocated, I think he’s underestimating his power.”
Eno’s op-ed follows a letter signed by Peter Gabriel, Wolf Alice, Julie Christie and Vivienne Westwood, among many others, calling on the BBC to press for the Eurovision final to be moved from Israel.
Across Europe, tens of thousands of people have signed a petition urging broadcasters, singers and songwriters to boycott the contest hosted by Israel, “just as they once boycotted the apartheid regime in South Africa.”
A parody of Bucks Fizz’s 1981 Eurovision-winning song, Making Your Mind Up, was released earlier this month by activist group London Palestine Action.
Palestinian civil society has called for the cultural boycott of Israel since 2004, as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  More than 1,300 UK-based artists have signed Artists for Palestine UK’s pledge to uphold the cultural boycott of Israel.
The BDS movement has three aims: the end of Israel’s military occupation, equality for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.