More than 60 queer and trans liberation organizations, from nearly 20 countries across Europe and beyond, areÂ callingÂ on global LGBTQIA communities to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.
The signatories condemn Israelâs âshamefulâ use of Eurovision, which has a strong following among LGBTQIA communities, to âdistract attention from its war crimes against Palestiniansâ and âforward its pinkwashing agenda, the cynical use of gay rights to distract from and normalize Israelâs occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.â
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 Israelâs violent oppression and denial of fundamental rights.
Since last March, Israeli army snipers have shot and killedÂ 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 âdeliberate attemptsâ to kill and maim.
Israel held a celebratory concert with 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai the evening of the Gaza protestâs 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 âpromoting EurovisionÂ alongside Tel Aviv Pride in order to reap maximum benefits for Israel for an entire month of pinkwashing.â
The signatories include Palestinian collectivesÂ al-Qaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society,Â Pinkwatching IsraelÂ andÂ Aswat- Palestinian Feminist Center for Sexual and Gender Freedoms, theÂ National LGBT Committee for UNISON, one of the UKâs largest trade unions,Â ACT UPÂ groups in France and the UK, theÂ Panteras RosaÂ in Portugal,Â more than 20 queer and trans groupsÂ in the Spanish State and Italy, theÂ Gay Liberation Network, theÂ Methodist Federation for Social ActionÂ andÂ Jewish Voice for Peace New York City Queer CaucusÂ in the US.
The statement from LGBTQIA groups follows anÂ outpouring of supportÂ for the Palestinian call to #BoycottEurovision2019 in Israel, including artists, former Eurovision winners, contestants and presenters, politicians, trade unions. Tens of thousands haveÂ signed a petitionÂ urging a Eurovision boycott, and the UK band The Tuts hasÂ refused an invitationÂ 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 Israelâs 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, âOur rights are indivisible from the rights of all oppressed communities.â
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 theÂ Pinkwatching Israel web site.
To add organizational signatures for LGBTQIA groups, please completing thisÂ 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 Israelâs denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI atÂ https://bdsmovement.net/pacbiÂ and follow us on Twitter @PACBI