Queer pro-Palestine activists will lead a colourful karaoke protest outside famous London LGBT nightclub Heaven on Wednesday, 21 November, when controversial Eurovision 2018 winner for Israel Netta Barzilai performs.
Organized by London Palestine Action, the musical protest will also feature dabke – a Palestinian folk dance – and Palestinian solidarity versions of gay anthems with lyrics re-written to call out Israel for its violations of human rights.
The group, earlier, wrote an open letter to club owner Jeremy Joseph, asking him to “stand on the right side of history” and cancel Netta’s gig .
PNN reports that Queer Palestine solidarity activist Layla White said: “I am a huge fan of Eurovision, but human rights are more important. I don’t want entertainment or LGBT rights used by the state of Israel to ‘pinkwash’ its crimes against Palestinians. We’re calling on people to boycott Eurovision in apartheid Israel next year.”
The protestors are responding to a call from Palestinian queers to boycott Barzilai’s European tour, which said: “Following her Eurovision win for Israel, Barzilai has willingly taken on the role of cultural ambassador for Israeli apartheid, using pop music to keep Israel’s ongoing denial of Palestinian human rights out of mind.”
“As part of this propaganda effort, Barzilai is supporting the Israeli government’s pinkwashing agenda, the cynical campaign to use LGBT rights to shield itself from criticism of its decades-old oppression of Palestinians.”
In 2005 Palestinian civil society organisations called for international solidarity through boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel until it ends its systematic denial of Palestinian human rights.
The cultural boycott targets institutions, not individuals, except where they act as a representative of the Israel state, as Barzilai does.