On 18th May, millions of people around the world will tune in to the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest. Last year, Israel’s Netta Barzilai won the competition with the song ‘Toy’, scoring a comfortable 93 point margin over runner-up Cyprus. As a result, Eurovision 2019 broadcasts from Tel Aviv, and in doing so, wades deep into political controversy.
Netta’s victory in 2018 was seen by the Israeli government as something of a diplomatic triumph; reinforcing the narrative of Israel’s LGBT and Queer-friendly credentials. But the Palestinian reality of continued occupation and apartheid has not been elided, and accusations of ‘pinkwashing’ and ‘artwashing’ – along with calls to boycott Eurovision – have gained considerable traction in the last few months.
Discussing this unlikely flashpoint in the history of the Palestinian struggle and the BDS campaign, we are joined in the studio by Hilary Aked, a London-based writer, researcher and activist, who is currently writing a book about the Israel lobby in the UK; Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, a criminal barrister, and consultant for Palestinian human rights organisation Al Haq; and Alia Malak, a British-Palestinian from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
To find out more about the BDS campaign, and the numerous alternative events being planned to coincide with Eurovision, go to:
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