The Chief Rabbi of Britain has defended Israel’s right to host the 2019 Eurovision song contest and blasted the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction’s (BDS) movement for its effort to pressure artists not to perform in the Jewish State.
In an interview with The Daily Mail that was published on Saturday, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said, “Whereas peacemakers seek dialogue and common ground, for more than a decade the BDS movement has pursued a campaign of division and demonization.”
Mirvis noted that “calls for the Eurovision song contest to be moved from Israel will ultimately harm, and not help, the cause of peace.” Instead, he called on “BDS to turn their efforts towards collaboration and reconciliation.”
The contest will be held in Tel Aviv this coming May under the slogan “Dare to Dream.” Israel won the right to host the event because its act, Netta Barzilai, won last year with her song, “Toy.”
The rabbi’s intervention came just days after some 50 British cultural figures signed a letter in which they urged the BBC to “press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed.” The BBC rejected the call, saying, “The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity.”
Despite efforts to castigate the event, several countries have already confirmed their participation in the contest, including Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, and Spain.
The boycott movement pretends to be working toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but in reality, many of its supporters, including its founders, advocate for the total destruction of the state of Israel.
A poll that was released last week showed a correlation between support for BDS and anti-Semitic attitudes.
The initiative to boycott Eurovision in Israel has found the support of several leading anti-Israel activists, including former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and filmmaker Ken Loach. Both men have tried in the past to intimidate and pressure other artists not to perform in the Jewish State.
In 2013, a Waters concert featured a floating pig displaying a Star of David, a move that Waters has continuously defended, in part by asserting that accusations of anti-Semitism against him are unfounded because he has a Jewish daughter-in-law.
[Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr ]