Hollywood superstars sign open letter supporting Israel’s participation in Eurovision

Helen Mirren, Liev Schreiber and Debra Messing among signatories rejecting calls for Israel’s expulsion from the annual contest


Over 400 prominent figures from the entertainment industry including Helen Mirren, Liev Schreiber and Mayim Bialik have signed an open letter in support of Israel’s continued inclusion in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest.

Released by non-profit industry body Creative Community for Peace, the letter comes as a response to widespread calls for Israel to be barred from the contest, and states that those who call for Israel’s exclusion are “subverting the spirit of the Contest and turning it from a celebration of unity into a tool of politics.”

“We have been shocked and disappointed to see some members of the entertainment community calling for Israel to be banished from the Contest for responding to the greatest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust,” the letter reads. “Under the cover of thousands of rockets fired indiscriminately into civilian populations, Hamas murdered and kidnapped innocent men, women, and children.”

Signed by prominent entertainment figures such as Scooter Braun, Debra Messing, Emmy Rossum, Boy George, Ginnifer Goodwin, Selma Blair, and Sharon Osbourne, the letter contends that “Israel is fighting a war against a European Union-designated terrorist group that once again broke a ceasefire that day, and then went on to slaughter over 1,200 people. This current round of fighting is not a war that Israel wanted or started. To punish Israel would be an inversion of justice.”

Last month, Iceland’s Association of Composers Lyricist called for Israel’s suspension from the competition, saying they would oppose their own nation’s inclusion in the contest if Israel remained an entrant. Musicians from Sweden, Finland and Denmark have also called for Israel’s expulsion from the contest, and numerous fringe activist groups have created petitions calling for the same.

Appeals for Israel’s exclusion have only intensified since the country announced its 2024 contest representative, Eden Golan, last week. However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in charge of organising the annual competition has been consistent in its assertion that Eurovision is an “apolitical” event, and Israel's war in Gaza should not preclude the country from participating.

In December, a spokesperson for the Eurovision Song Contest told the JC that the governing bodies of EBU “have reviewed the participants list and agreed that the Israeli public broadcaster KAN meets all the competition rules and can participate in the Contest next year in Malmö, Sweden, alongside 36 other broadcasters.”

Israel has been participating in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1973 and has won the contest four times: in 1978, 1979, 1998, and 2018. The open letter acknowledges that Israel has always platformed “a diverse group of contestants representing the country, including Palestinians, Ethiopians, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Actor and signatory 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.”

Musician Gene Simmons, who also signed the letter, said: “Music unites people from all backgrounds. It’s the one language that everyone can understand. It’s a beautiful thing and a great way to bring people together. Those advocating to exclude an Israeli singer from Eurovision don’t move the needle towards peace, but only further divide the world.”

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