MEDIA RELEASE 16 May 2019

Prominent Australians join Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Australia’s calls for a boycott of this weekend’s SBS broadcast of Eurovision in Israel

Palestinians have asked international viewers not to watch the event this year while the Israeli state continues to commit war crimes, break international law and deny Palestinians equal human rights.

Australia’s entrant, Kate Miller-Heidke has ignored sustained calls from throughout Australia and from rock legend, Roger Waters not to perform and ‘artwash’ human rights abuses by Israel.

Prominent Australians have made the following statements in support of the boycott:

Mary Kostakidis, the former face of SBS News:
“The daily brutality and dispossession faced by Palestinian people shames us all. While the world’s performers come together to compete in a celebration of song and dance we know that the brutality will continue. I applaud those who have refused to take part. Just as sanctions and the courage of people all over the world to stand up for justice brought an end to apartheid in South Africa, more & more of us must demand an end to this cruelty, respect for the rights of Palestinian people and peace with justice. This year, Eurovision is asking us to be blind. We are not blind and we cannot be complicit.”

Colin Friels, renowned actor:
”Given the siege of Gaza and the slaughter of Palestinians, the televising of the Eurovision Song Contest must not be allowed to ‘artwash’ Israeli brutalities. I strongly support the boycott of this event and urge others to do the same.”

L-FRESH The LION, hip-hop artist and 2018 SBS Eurovision judge:
“I stand with the people of Palestine. As an artist and musician, I don’t see how Eurovision can achieve its goal of bringing the world together through music by having its 2019 competition in Israel, while Israel continues to violently occupy Palestine. In respecting Palestinian’s call for a cultural boycott of Israel, I encourage my peers to do the same. We all have a part to play. We cannot remain silent or be complicit in the suffering of Palestinian people.”

Comedian and broadcaster Tom Ballard:
“As a former employee and as someone who likes important, diverse television, I love SBS. As a homosexual, I am required by law to love Eurovision. Both of these things are true. But I’m also compelled to love human rights. I’m compelled to join the call from Palestine to boycott Eurovision this year, to call for an end to the persecution and apartheid of Palestinians and to demand justice from the international community. Thank you for giving a shit and thank you for doing the right thing.”

Writer, actor and multidisciplinary artist Candy Bowers:
“Palestinian artists and musicians are asking for our solidarity, recognising our own relative privilege, to join the boycott of Israel until they win justice and equality. Israeli policy has been about erasing Palestinian culture and ignoring Palestinian voices. I hear their voices and urge others artists in Australia to hear them too. Art and entertainment should never ignore human rights.”

Contemporary Aboriginal artist and 2019 Archibald Prize finalist Blak Douglas:
“I stand in solidarity with my Palestinian brothers and sisters just as I do with my First Nations’ peoples both here and abroad. For SBS management to endorse the Eurovision 2019 contest, they effectively deny the ensuing genocide upon the Palestinian citizens on their homeland in favour of ratings.”

Hilmi Dabbagh, the convenor of BDS Australia, said, “While it is a personal milestone for Kate Miller-Heidke to take her post-natal depression inspired song ‘Zero Gravity’ into the grand final of Eurovision, does she realise that Palestinians suffer some of the worst mental health outcomes in the world and easily the highest rate of mental illness in the Middle East due to the 71-year occupation of their lands?”

“We ask Kate Miller-Heidke to reflect on the impact of her visit on Palestinians and to accept the briefing BDS Australia offered her in December from Palestinians in Australia, and join us in campaigning for equal human rights,” Mr Dabbagh said.

CONTACT:
Bruce Knobloch
Campaign organiser at BDS Australia
0425282450 | contact@bdsaustralia.net.au
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