The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

British cultural figures urge BBC to boycott Eurovision in Israel

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London – British cultural figures including Vivienne Westwood, Peter Gabriel and Mike Leigh have signed a letter calling on the BBC to cancel coverage of this year’s Eurovision song contest because it is taking place in Israel.

The letter, published in the Guardian, criticises Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories. “Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,” it reads. “The BBC is bound by its charter to ‘champion freedom of expression’. It should act on its principles and press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed.”

Other signatories of the letter include actors Julie Christie and Maxine Peake; musicians Wolf Alice and Roger Waters; and writers Caryl Churchill and AL Kennedy. Their letter follows another in September 2018 in which cultural figures from across Europe called on Eurovision’s organisers to “cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record”.

Many of the signatories have protested the staging of other cultural events in Israel. Nick Cave and Radiohead are among the musicians criticised for performing in the country in recent years, with others, such as Lana Del Rey and Lorde, cancelling concerts following pressure to do so.

Peter Ahrends, architect

Amir Amirani, filmmaker

Jonathan Arndell, architect, artist

Roy Battersby, director

Bloody Knees, band

brave timbers, band

Jen Brister, comedian

Carmen Callil, publisher, writer

Taghrid Choucair-Vizoso, performer

Julie Christie, actor

Ian Christie, film historian, broadcaster

Chipo Chung, actor

Caryl Churchill, playwright

Michael Darlow, tv writer and director

Paula Darwish, musician

April De Angelis, playwright

Tam Dean Burn, actor

Drones Club, band

Nancy Elan, violin

Gareth Evans, producer, curator

Peter Gabriel, musician, founder WOMAD festival

Lots Holloway, singer, songwriter

Rachel Holmes, writer

Brigid Keenan, author

Patrick Keiller, artist, filmmaker

Reem Kelani, musician, broadcaster

AL Kennedy, writer

Desmond Lambert, musician

Mike Leigh, writer, director

Ken Loach, director

Sabrina Mahfouz, writer

Miriam Margolyes, actor

Yann Martel, writer

Declan McKenna, singer, songwriter

JD Meatyard, musician

Pauline Melville, writer

Giuliano Modarelli, musician, composer

Object Blue, DJ

Maxine Peake, actor

Jocelyn Pook, composer

TJ Rehmi, composer, producer

Reverend & the Makers, band

Leon Rosselson, songwriter

Rrose, DJ

Alexei Sayle, comedian, author

David Scott, music producer

Nick Seymour, musician

Sarah Streatfeild, violin

Roger Waters, musician

Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer

Wolf Alice, band