Editor’s Note: The following is a statement from London Palestine Action. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues.
Queer activists today released a spoof version of YMCA to urge Graham Norton to boycott Eurovision, because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Norton is due to host BBC coverage of the event on May 18 but the Tel Aviv location of this year’s competition has provoked a storm of controversy.
The all-queer cast of the video are calling on the TV presenter to heed Palestinians’ call for a boycott of Eurovision – the world’s biggest music event – until Israel complies with international law.
Fronted by drag king Beaujangles and featuring prominent Jewish LGBTQ+ activist Dan Glass, the video is entitled “Yes BDS”, in reference to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Leila White from London Palestine Action said: “We wanted to appeal to Graham Norton the way only queers know how – through the medium of YMCA. We had a lot of fun making this camp, joyful video but our message is very serious.”
“There should be no business as usual with an apartheid state. Graham Norton should listen to Palestinians and heed their call for a boycott of Israel until it stops its systematic denial of Palestinians rights. We say no to pinkwashing, yes to BDS!”
Released by activist group London Palestine Action, the alternative lyrics to the song YMCA were first written to protest Israel’s 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai’s appearance at LGBT+ nightclub Heaven last November.
Earlier this year, the group released a spoof of UK 1981 Eurovision-winners Bucks Fizz, which went viral on social media.
In the week leading up to Eurovision, London Palestine Action will also be releasing three Madonna spoofs including “Madonna Don’t Go”, a parody of Papa Don’t Preach, as Madonna is due to perform at the event in Tel Aviv.
Last weekend Israel bombed the Gaza Strip, killing at least 25 Palestinians including pregnant women and children. Four Israelis were also killed.
Gaza has been under an illegal siege since 2007 and Israel has been occupying the West Bank since 1967.
Palestinians in Israel today live under more than 60 discriminatory laws, while Palestinian refugees – over 750,000 of whom were expelled in 1948 during the creation of Israel – have been prevented from returning to their homes ever since.