Queer artists call on Olly Alexander to boycott Eurovision over Israel participation

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More than 450 queer artists, individuals and organisations have called on the UK’s Eurovision contestant, Olly Alexander, to boycott this year’s competition in solidarity with Palestine.

The actor Maxine Peake and the novelist and playwright Sarah Schulman are among the signatories of the open letter calling on the singer to withdraw from the contest in May due to the conflict in Gaza.

The letter, posted on Instagram by Queers for Palestine, read: “We share the vision of queer joy and abundance you’ve offered through your music, and share your belief in collective liberation for all. In this spirit, we ask you to heed the Palestinian call to withdraw from Eurovision … There can be no party with a state committing apartheid and genocide.

“At a time when accountability is so urgently needed, Israel’s inclusion in Eurovision would enable and cover up its war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Other signatories include the actors Indya Moore and Brigette Lundy-Paine, the musicians Goat Girl, H Sinno and Chardine Taylor-Stone, and the writers Jason Okundaye and Jamie Windust.

In response to the open letter, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – a founding member of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement – said: “We applaud the thousands of artists, including many queer artists, supporting the boycott of Eurovision 2024 over Israel’s participation.

“This is the moment for Eurovision participants including Olly Alexander to make history, instead of letting it pass them by.”

Last week, Eurovision Party London, London’s biggest Eurovision screening party, announced it was cancelling its 2024 edition over Israel’s participation.

Before being chosen as the UK’s Eurovision contestant, Alexander signed a pro-Palestine letter in December, which accused Israel of genocide in Gaza.

The Eurovision grand final takes place on 11 May in Malmö, Sweden. More than 1,000 Swedish artists have called for Israel to be banned from participating and more than 1,400 Finnish music industry professionals signed a petition to ban Israel from taking part in the contest.

The television presenter Sharon Osbourne and the Kiss musician Gene Simmons have signed a separate open letter, rejecting the ban.

Published by the nonprofit organisation Creative Community for Peace, the letter reads in part: “We have been shocked and disappointed to see some members of the entertainment community calling for Israel to be banished from the contest for responding to the greatest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

“Under the cover of thousands of rockets fired indiscriminately into civilian populations, Hamas murdered and kidnapped innocent men, women, and children.”

Source: theguardian.com

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