Tel Aviv will host the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in May. Following Israel’s victory last year, the Zionist regime has used the contest for artwashing, i.e., attempting to conceal its ongoing violations of human rights and international law through a focus on culture and arts. The event’s strategic political importance for Israel has even been discussed in the Knesset.
As Netta Barzilai performed Israel’s winning song “Toy” in last year’s Eurovision, Israel was firing missiles into Gaza, leading to the massacre of sixty-two Gazans. Barzilai’s victory also coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Nakba and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Israeli activists who asked Europeans to not vote for the apartheid regime’s performer, revealed that Barzilai had served in the navy during Israel’s brutal war against Gaza in 2014.
While Israel celebrated its Eurovision win on the streets of Tel Aviv, Israeli forces killed 62 Palestinians protesting in Gaza, including 6 children. This is why we boycott. No glitzy prize can cover-up brutal occupation and apartheid. #BoycottEurovision2019 @PACBI @BDSmovement pic.twitter.com/umLf7Uww88
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) February 8, 2019
Following her win, Barzilai was praised by the Israeli government as an ambassador for the country. Indeed, Barzilai has been involved in an orchestrated political campaign to improve Israel’s image through music. Her performances abroad are oftentimes sponsored by the Israeli foreign ministry. She has also performed for Zionist extremist and settlement sponsor Sheldon Adelson.
Palestinian artists and journalists, who called for a boycott of this year’s contest, have been joined by numerous European artists, including former Eurovision contestants. Boycott efforts have been particularly strong in Portugal and Ireland. In the United Kingdom, numerous cultural figures have urged the BBC to cancel its participation. Some Israeli citizens have campaigned for a boycott as well.
Despite these efforts, one country after another has confirmed its participation. The BBC has claimed that the contest “is not a political event and does not endorse any political message or campaign.”
The claim that Eurovision is “apolitical” might very well be common among Western audiences that can afford the privilege of indulging in the illusion that the contest is about music and peace. For the Israeli regime, however, the contest is a perfect platform for Hasbara propaganda, providing it with access to approximately 200 million viewers worldwide.