Israeli Netta Barzilai, whose victory in last year’s Eurovision meant that Israel would host the competition this year, told BBC Breakfast that efforts to boycott the upcoming contest would “spread darkness,” The Times of Israel reported Friday.
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) February 7, 2019
Though politics doesn’t usually play a role in Eurovision, this year, because it is being hosted by Israel, members of the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign have been calling for the competition to be moved.
In her interview with the BBC, Barzilai decried the encroachment of politics into the competition, saying, “It’s all about building bridges, it’s all about celebrating diversity, being all these people from all these places on the same stage and saying ‘hey, we’re all the same and we’re celebrating all these ethnicities and all these kinds and types of music.’”
“It’s the magical music festival and you can do whatever you want and you can bring whatever you want and it’s amazing. It shouldn’t be political, it’s a disaster if it will be,” the singer continued.
Barzilai encouraged fans to come to Israel, saying, “Israel is incredible, it throws the best party ever and people should come.”
Regarding the BDS campaign, she said, “When you boycott light, you spread darkness.”
Last month, the BBC rejected a call by well-known anti-Israel activists, including Roger Waters and Ken Loach, as well as musician Peter Gabriel, designer Vivienne Westwood, and actress Julie Christie, to pressure the organizers to move the Eurovision contest out of Israel.
The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the contest, emphasized the “non-political character of the event” and noted that preparations in Tel Aviv were already “well advanced.”
Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi of Britain, added his voice to those rejecting the call for a Eurovision boycott.
“Whereas peacemakers seek dialogue and common ground,” Mirvis told The Daily Mail, “for more than a decade the BDS movement has pursued a campaign of division and demonization.”
[Photo: BBC Breakfast / Twitter ]