Eurovision fever sweeps Tel Aviv despite BDS efforts, Gaza rockets

Attacks from Gaza pose the latest threat to the popular Eurovision contest, which already survived an aggressive BDS campaign to derail the event being hosted in Israel this year.

By TPS and World Israel News Staff

Just hours before the latest air attacks from the Gaza Strip which launched on Friday, the first of the 40 delegations to take part in this month’s Eurovision Song Contest began arriving in Israel to prepare for the event, which is to take place in Tel Aviv, beginning May 14.

Entourages from Australia, Hungary, and Cyprus were the first to arrive.

Many of the other delegations were arriving on Saturday and Sunday.

There have been no cancellations, organizers say.

Before the latest violence, celebrities and entertainment industry leaders had voiced their support for Israel’s hosting of the Eurovision festivities and came out against calls to boycott the event.

Contestants, broadcasters, and Madonna, who is set to perform at the finale contest, have been facing extreme pressure from anti-Israel elements to boycott the popular singing contest.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) wrote Madonna on Twitter that her performance will “undermine our struggle for freedom, justice, and equality” by performing “in apartheid Tel Aviv, on the ruins of the ethnically-cleansed village of al-Shaykh Muwannis.”

“Tell Madonna that performing at Eurovision in Israel means lending her star-power to cover up Israel’s continued human rights abuses and harms the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality,” said PACBI.

Countering these calls, Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), an organization comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry dedicated to promoting the arts as a means to peace and to defending artistic freedom, issued a statement signed by more than 100 leaders in the entertainment industry supporting the Eurovision in Israel.

CCFP stated that it believes that “unifying events, such as singing competitions, are crucial to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together through their shared love of music” and that the Eurovision contest “embodies this unifying power.”

However, this year, “the spirit of togetherness is under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division.”

CCFP charged the calls to boycott Israel “an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition. While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.”

CCFP called on “all our friends and colleagues around the world to express their support for an exciting and successful Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv.”

CCFP members include Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Aerosmith.