More than 100 artists, including KISS frontman Gene Simmons and television-reality star Sharon Osbourne, have signed a statement against calls for boycotting the Eurovision song competition next month in Tel Aviv.

“We believe that unifying events, such as singing competitions, are crucial to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together through their shared love of music,” reads the statement. “The annual Eurovision Song Contest embodies this unifying power. Every year, millions of people across Europe, and around the world, join together in a massive display of cultural exchange and celebration of music.”

“Unfortunately, this year, the spirit of togetherness is under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division,” it continued. “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.”

More than 60 queer and trans organizations from nearly 20 countries across Europe and beyond are calling on global LGBTQ communities to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. A number of music and drag performers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer (LGBTQ) will skip this year’s Eurovision song contest in Israel and will instead be part of an alternative online broadcast.

The broadcast, called “Globalvision,” will stream at the same time as the Eurovision finals in Tel Aviv on May 18 and broadcast shows from numerous countries, in addition to music videos.

Queer Palestinian pop-artist Bashar Murad, Palestinian drag performer Elias Wakeem and London-based drag performer Ray Filar are part of the boycott.

“This year, approximately 200 million people will watch, visit and take part in the Eurovision song contest, celebrating music and the diversity of our different cultures,” said Ari Ingel, director of Creative Community for Peace, which organized the petition against the boycott. “The members of the entertainment industry who have signed this statement, along with the thousands of individuals who have endorsed its message, all believe in building bridges through music and the arts as a means to achieving greater understanding and peace in the region.”

Eurovision starts on May 14 and ends on May 18.

Source: https://www.jns.org/feed/