The European Broadcasting Union (EBU)the body in charge of organizing Eurovision, confirmed a few weeks ago his decision not to exclude Israel as a participating country in one of the largest musical events at the European level. However, His position has not served to silence the protests. To the previous complaints from Finland and Iceland, an open letter signed by more than a thousand Swedish artists has now been added, denouncing the hypocrisy of the event organizer.
A protest that is not trivial since it is in that country where this year’s edition of the song festival will be held after Loreen’s victory in 2023 with her song Tattoo. Precisely, the name of the Swedish artist is not among the more than 1,000 who sign this kind of manifesto.
The open letter has been published in full in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet and you can read it completely translated into Spanish at the end of this article. All the signing artists accuse the organization of the show of double standards for not taking the same measures against Israel that were taken against Russia a couple of editions ago where it was excluded for its war against Ukraine.
These artists’ complaints include the fact that dozens of journalists have been killed in the Gaza Strip and hundreds of international correspondents have been denied access “in one of the biggest attacks on press freedom in modern times.”
Below you can read the open letter in its entirety:
For more than 100 days, we have witnessed the Israeli military committing what leading human rights organizations describe as serious war crimes.
More than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 10,000 children. Israel’s brutal war in Gaza has destroyed vital civilian infrastructure, caused inhumane living conditions and forced 85 percent of the population to flee.
What is happening in Gaza is a humanitarian disaster and the International Court of Justice in The Hague has recently decided to continue the process in which Israel is accused of violating the Genocide Convention.
Despite this, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) intends to allow Israel’s participation in the Eurovision song contest in 2024.
The EBU justifies its position by saying that the Eurovision song contest is a competition between public service companies and not between states.
But the EBU decided in 2022 to exclude Russia from the contest due to the invasion of Ukraine, and in 2021 member companies from Belarus were denied entry to the contest because the country violated the EBU’s press freedom rules.
In just under four months, around 100 Palestinian journalists have been killed and the foreign press has been denied access to Gaza. It is one of the biggest attacks on press freedom in modern times.
We believe that by allowing Israel to participate, the EBU is exhibiting a notable double standard that undermines the organization’s credibility.
The fact that countries that place themselves above humanitarian law are welcome to participate in international cultural events trivializes violations of international law and makes the suffering of victims invisible.
As cultural professionals, it is our duty to do everything possible to pressure influential actors like the EBU to bring about change and counter artwashing. We hope that both the EBU and this year’s host channel, SVT, will be consistent in their stance towards participating countries that violate democratic values and human rights.
The fact that Israel’s indiscriminate war in Gaza was preceded by heinous war crimes committed by the designated terrorist organization Hamas does not exempt the country from its obligations under international law as a democratic state.
Those of us who signed this are 1,000 artists who believe in music as a unifying force. The Eurovision song contest began as a peace project with the ambition to unite countries and citizens through music.
Allowing Israel to participate undermines not only the spirit of the competition but the entire public service mission. It also sends a signal that governments can commit war crimes without consequences. Therefore, we call on the EBU: Exclude Israel from the Eurovision 2024 song contest.
Eurovision 2024 is currently unaffected by these protests, which could be transferred to the live musical events prepared in Malmo for that entire week in May.