Eurovision fans call for boycott as they demand Israel be banned from competition over Gaza conflict

Eurovision fans call for boycott as they demand Israel be banned from competition over Gaza conflict

Eamonn and Isabel discuss Eurovision

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 18/12/2023

- 13:19

Updated: 18/12/2023

- 13:51

The contest is set to be held in Sweden next year

Eurovision fans are calling for a boycott on next year's competition as they continue to call on organisers to ban Israel from the 2024 contest in Sweden.

A petition, set up by Lotta Backman, is demanding Israel be banned from next year's competition following the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Israel is part of the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the annual song competition, with the country winning the contest in 2018.

The petition cites the fact that Malmö, where the competition is due to be held next year, is home to a large Palestinian refugee population.

\u200bNoa Kirel

Noa Kirel represented Israel at this year's contest


The petition reads: "Nobody wants to see, hear or have anything to do with Israel as the state is a violator of so many human rights during its genocide in Gaza!

"Israel is committing serious war crimes on a daily basis in Gaza & the West Bank towards Palestinians. And why should people who watch the European Song Contest (ESC) in millions for entertainment purposes have to involuntarily support Israeli interests and unlawful actions.

"Though it might seem as a minor thing to stop Israel´s participation in the ESC 2024, especially in times where they have increased and continue the vial crimes of killings of civilians in Gaza.

"But a public 'shaming' in a field where Israel feels safe is still a very important statement against their crimes against international laws and their continued killing of children and civilians in Gaza.

"Also, me being a Swede, and that the CEO of the ESC Mr Martin Österdahl is Swedish, is making this petition extra important for me to grow."


Iceland's 2019 entry, Hatari, brandished scarves with Palestinian flags in protest at Israel's inclusion in the contest


Accompanying the petition online, the organisers began the hashtags "boycottESC2024" and "banisrael".

It comes as Iceland's Association of Composers and Lyricists demanded last week that Israel be excluded from the competition.

They said Israel should be disqualified from competing in Eurovision because the contest is supposed to be the space of "joy and optimism", not "military force".

Iceland failed to qualify in last year's competition.

In 2022, the competition banned Russia from competing following the invasion of Ukraine, with Russian broadcasters VGTRK and Channel One announcing that they would suspend their membership of the EBU.

Eurovision boycott petition

Petition to boycott Eurovision

It comes as there is mounting international pressure for a ceasefire in Israel, with former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace saying there was a risk of radicalising more Muslims against the West.

Wallace said he was not calling for a ceasefire with Hamas, but warned Israel needed to stop its "crude and indiscriminate method of attack" in the Gaza Strip.

GB News has approached the EBU and the ESC for comment.

On Sunday, actor and Years & Years lead singer Olly Alexander was announced as the UK's representative for the 2024 competition.

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