Calls to boycott Eurovision 2019 have been increasing in the run up to the final on Saturday.
The event is taking place in Israel, following the victory of Netta Barzilai in the 2018 edition. But many have decried the event’s choice of location, following renewed violence between Israel and Palestine in the past year.
Just two days after the 2018 Eurovision song contest, 62 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, as thousands demonstrated across the occupied territory to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba – when half of Palestine’s population were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war.
In the wake of the violence, demonstrations have taken place around the world in support of the Palestinian people, and in opposition to an Israeli Eurovision. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has called for international powers to take action against Israel.
In London, one such march was held on 11 May, ending just outside Westminster Palace. An event has also been planned named “Not the Eurovision: Party for Palestine”, which will take place on Saturday 18 May and feature artists such as Mic Righteous and Grammy-nominated Wolf Alice.
On 15 May, a webcast of the Eurovision semi-final was hacked to show faked explosions in the city of Tel Aviv. Viewers saw a warning about a fictitious attack on the city, accompanied by an animated video and the sound of air raid sirens.
Kobi Marimi, Israel’s entry for the 2019 contest, said Eurovision is “not a political contest”.
He added: “I’m sad about those protests. I think we should focus on music and love.”