Mercury Prize-winning rock band Wolf Alice has backed calls to boycott this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on human rights grounds.
Speaking to Sky News, the four-piece’s guitarist Joff Oddie accused Israel of “weaponising culture” as the country prepares to host the 64th Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv this Saturday (May 18).
Oddie claimed that the hosts are “serial human rights abusers,” who “use culture to art wash” and “whitewash over their human rights abuses”.
Israel is hosting this year’s competition after its contestant Netta won Eurovision in 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, with her song “Toy”.
Wolf Alice Backs Open Letter To Boycott Eurovision In Israel
Image credit: Eurovision Greece/Flickr
The London-based group, which won the Mercury Prize last year, previously signed an open letter in January – alongside musicians including Roger Waters and Peter Gabriel – calling for a boycott of the contest and for the BBC to cancel its coverage.
Oddie told Sky News that the letter and the boycott “are responding to a call from Palestinian civil society”.
We asked Palestine – ‘do you want us to come?’, ‘No – do not come’ and that’s what you do, you respect the people who are being oppressed.
Joff Oddie, Wolf Alice guitarist
“We asked Palestine – ‘do you want us to come?'” he said.
“‘No – do not come’ and that’s what you do, you respect the people who are being oppressed.”
Celebrities Counter ‘Cultural Boycott’
Image credit: Eric de Redelijkheid/Flickr
Other celebrities, including Stephen Fry and Sharon Osborne, backed an open letter earlier in May against the boycotting of the 2019 Eurovision.
“We believe the cultural boycott movement is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition,” the letter reads.
“While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.”
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement has been advocating for the various forms of boycott against Israel, including cultural boycotts, since 2005 over its violations of Palestinian human rights.
RightsInfo has contacted Wolf Alice’s management and Eurovision for comment.