Palestinian cultural groups and journalists are urging a boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be hosted by Israel, in a new statement published Tuesday.
The statement, signed by the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate and network of Palestinian cultural organizations, "call on members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), participating states, contestants and the wider public" to boycott the event.
"Would the Eurovision have held the contest in apartheid South Africa?" the statement asks.
According to the groups, "Israel's regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel strategy, which tries to show 'Israel's prettier face' to whitewash and distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians".
The statement notes that, while "Israel has announced that the mega event will take place in Jerusalem", regardless of where the event is held, "this contest must be boycotted to avoid complicity and business-as-usual with this regime and to avoid irreversibly tarnishing the Eurovision brand with Israel's egregious human rights record".
The boycott call notes how "people of conscience around the world are reaching the same conclusion, and we are heartened by their solidarity", citing a petition signed by almost 8 percent of Iceland's population to boycott Eurovision 2019.
"In Ireland, former Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan, the Mayor of Dublin, politicians and trade union leaders called for a boycott of Eurovision 2019. Similar calls emanated from the UK, Sweden, Malta, Australia and the Spanish state, with growing public discontent reverberating across Europe".
The statement urges "members of the EBU and contestants to boycott Eurovision 2019 so long as Israel is hosting it", "grassroots movements and artists' unions in participating countries to protest Israel's hosting of Eurovision 2019 and for peaceful boycott actions", and "colleagues, artists and broadcast journalists, to publicly support and spread this call".
"As in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, only through effective and sustained international pressure will Israel be compelled to comply with its obligations under international law and to respect the human rights of Palestinians", the statement concludes.