More than 60 queer and trans liberation organizations, from nearly 20 countries across Europe and beyond, areĀ callingĀ on global LGBTQIA communities to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

The signatories condemn Israelā€™s ā€œshamefulā€ use of Eurovision, which has a strong following among LGBTQIA communities, to ā€œdistract attention from its war crimes against Palestiniansā€ and ā€œforward its pinkwashing agenda, the cynical use of gay rights to distract from and normalize Israelā€™s occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.ā€

The statement, initiated by Palestinian queer groups, recalls the 1969 Stonewall Riots symbolizing LGBTQIA resistance against daily harassment and violence, drawing parallels with the tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza protesting, through the Great March of Return, decades of Israelā€™s violent oppression and denial of fundamental rights.

Since last March, Israeli army snipers have shot and killedĀ more than 200 unarmed Palestinians participating in the protests in Gaza, injuring 18,000 and leaving many with life-changing disabilities in what Amnesty International has described as ā€œdeliberate attemptsā€ to kill and maim.

Israel held a celebratory concert with 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai the evening of the Gaza protestā€™s deadliest day, when Israeli forces massacred 62 unarmed Palestinians. Netanyahu has called Barzilai “the best ambassador of Israel.”

The signatories also call for a boycott of the Israeli government-backed Tel Aviv Pride, which they say is ā€œpromoting EurovisionĀ alongside Tel Aviv Pride in order to reap maximum benefits for Israel for an entire month of pinkwashing.ā€

The signatories include Palestinian collectivesĀ al-Qaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society,Ā Pinkwatching IsraelĀ andĀ Aswat- Palestinian Feminist Center for Sexual and Gender Freedoms, theĀ National LGBT Committee for UNISON, one of the UKā€™s largest trade unions,Ā ACT UPĀ groups in France and the UK, theĀ Panteras RosaĀ in Portugal,Ā more than 20 queer and trans groupsĀ in the Spanish State and Italy, theĀ Gay Liberation Network, theĀ Methodist Federation for Social ActionĀ andĀ Jewish Voice for Peace New York City Queer CaucusĀ in the US.

The statement from LGBTQIA groups follows anĀ outpouring of supportĀ for the Palestinian call to #BoycottEurovision2019 in Israel, including artists, former Eurovision winners, contestants and presenters, politicians, trade unions. Tens of thousands haveĀ signed a petitionĀ urging a Eurovision boycott, and the UK band The Tuts hasĀ refused an invitationĀ to enter the Eurovision contest in the UK.

Haneen Maikey, director of alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, commented:

As Palestinian queers, we are heartened by the increasing numbers of LGBTQIA communities taking a stand against Israelā€™s pinkwashing agenda in a true show of effective solidarity.

LGBTQIA communities are refusing to allow queer and trans liberation to be used by the Israeli regime of oppression as a progressive smoke screen to conceal its violent oppression of Palestinians. They are saying, ā€˜Our rights are indivisible from the rights of all oppressed communities.ā€™

Joining and promoting the call to boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel and Tel Aviv Pride help expose the Israeli government’s reprehensible co-opting of queer rights as a public relations tool to hide its crimes against Palestinians. They strike a blow to its shameful pinkwashing strategy to maintain its apartheid regime and its decades-old colonization and occupation of Palestine.

For the full list of signatories, see theĀ Pinkwatching Israel web site.

To add organizational signatures for LGBTQIA groups, please completing thisĀ form.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israelā€™s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI atĀĀ and follow us on Twitter @PACBI