Dear Eurovision contestants,
We are Israeli artists, musicians, filmmakers, and authors. Many of us signed a letter supporting Palestinian calls to relocate the Eurovision Song Contest from Tel Aviv. Here’s why.
We, as Jewish Israelis who yearn to live in a peaceful, democratic society, recognize that there is no way to achieve that without ending our government’s oppression of millions of Palestinians. A society can’t be considered democratic if it keeps a military rule over millions, denying them basic rights, including the right to vote. What does democracy mean when one fifth of Israeli citizens, Palestinian Arabs, are denied equal rights by law?
Our young men and women are obliged to serve in the Israeli occupation army, participating in perpetrating all sorts of crimes against Palestinians, including maintaining an illegal siege of Gaza.
“We will forever live by the sword,” promised our fanatic prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Well, we do not wish to live by the sword! We want to live normal, peaceful lives, without oppressing or subjugating anyone. We don’t want our children to join an army that most of the world accuses of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In Tel Aviv itself Israel displaces the indigenous Palestinians of Jaffa using economic and legalistic means, evicting families, demolishing homes, and neglecting and defunding whole neighborhoods.
You are due to perform at the Tel Aviv Expo center, on the ruins of the Palestinian village of al-Shaykh Muwannis, whose residents were forcibly displaced and never allowed to return.
We have thought deeply about your scheduled performances. On one hand, it would so wonderful to hear your music and your messages of inclusivity. On the other, this message will be delivered in Tel Aviv, which Israel uses as means of public relations, to distract from its military occupation, apartheid policies, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian people. It would be the perfect diversion.
We, as artists, can’t sit silent as our Palestinian counterparts suffer silencing, dehumanization and violence, and we ask you to join us in speaking out. Palestinian artists have urged you to pull out of Eurovision, and we join their call, for their sake and for our own futures.
Aviad Albert, musician
Shlomit Altman, artist
Meira Asher, sound artist
Kerem Blumberg, filmmaker
Dror Dayan, filmaker
Anat Even, filmmaker
Ohal Grietzer, musician
Nir Harel, artist
Avi Hershkovitz, film director
Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, performance artist
Noki Katan, DJ
Jonathan Ofir, conductor and violinist.
Hagar Ophir, installation and performance artist
David Oppenheim, artist, musician
Michal Peleg, writer
Nira Pereg, artist
Timna Peretz, filmmaker
Sigal Primor, artist
Danielle Ravitzki, musician, visual artist
Ben Ronen, visual artist
Michal Sapir, musician, writer
Anka Schneidermann, artist
Yonatan Shapira, musician
Eyal Sivan, documentary filmmaker
Eran Torbiner, documentary filmmaker
Eyal Vexler, art and cultural producer and curator
Oriana Weich, artist