Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Vivienne Westwood, Peter Gabriel among British personalities opposed to Eurovision in Israel

The designer and musician were part of a group that wrote a letter urging the BBC to cancel coverage of the event

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is among those calling for the BBC's Eurovision 2019 coverage to be cancelled. Courtesy Greenwich Entertainment
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is among those calling for the BBC's Eurovision 2019 coverage to be cancelled. Courtesy Greenwich Entertainment

After British girl band The Tuts refused to represent the United Kingdom in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, because it’s being held in Israel, 50 personalities from the country’s creative industries have signed a letter urging the BBC to cancel coverage of this year’s event.

From architects, artists and DJs, to musicians, comedians and fashion designers, the group has endorsed the document, which says “Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights”.

Notable figures who are opposed to the event include fashion figurehead Dame Vivienne Westwood, singer Peter Gabriel, actresses Julie Christie and Maxine Peake, Scottish author Alison Louise Kennedy, film writer Mike Leigh, rock band Wolf Alice and songwriter Roger Waters.

Waters, Leigh and Kennedy had also put their name against a letter penned last September, alongside American playwright Eve Ensler, actress Alia Shawkat, Eurovision 2018 national judge Fresh the Lion from Australia, eight-time Eurovision commentator Mike Murphy from Ireland, and dozens of artists from Europe, many of whom were finalists at previous editions of the contest.

Detractors aside, a number of artists are adopting a business-as-usual stance, including singer Bilal Hassani, who will represent France at contest. AFP  
Detractors aside, a number of artists are adopting a business-as-usual stance, including singer Bilal Hassani, who will represent France at contest. AFP

The group had urged organisers to “cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record… until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business as usual with the state that in denying them basic rights”.

Updated: January 30, 2019 12:44 PM

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