More than 100 artists and leading names in the entertainment industry, including actor and comedian Stephen Fry and TV presenter Rachel Riley, have signed an open letter opposing a boycott of Eurovision in Israel
In a letter published on Tuesday, the signatories described Eurovision as a “unifying event… 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,” the letter says
Efforts to boycott Eurovision have been spearheaded by an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, with the help of Roger Waters, former member of rock band Pink Floyd.
The anti-Israel composer and singer has publicly tried to bring pressure on acts not to perform at the contest, which will be held next month in Tel Aviv.
The anti-boycott letter, which was also signed by Gene Simmons of rock band Kiss and the actor Simon Callow, also described the cultural boycott movement as “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."
The letter comes after comments from Netta, the Israeli winner of last year’s contest, who also opposes a boycott.
@Being on the same stage, no matter what your religion or ethnicity or colour, from all these countries, from all these cultures, this is a festival of light," she said, at the annual meeting of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem.
"For people to boycott light is spreading darkness. It's the exact opposite thing."