Defying calls from the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to cancel her performance at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Australia’s nominee, Kate Miller-Heidke, said she believed “in the power of music and art to actually provoke discussion and inspire.”
Miller-Heidke defended her decision to perform in Israel after former Pink Floyd frontman and leading BDS activist, Roger Waters, suggested last week that her appearance would be used by the Israeli government to “whitewash” human rights abuses against Palestinians.
The classically-trained artist, who is set to perform her song “Zero Gravity” at this year’s contest, said: “For me, personally, the idea of completely blocking off an entire people, an entire country, from music, culture and learning…
“It’s not just art that they are trying to block but academia and stopping the free flow of learning and information into a country.
“I just can’t see how that is going to advance that part of the world towards solution.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, the artist observed that she has “a lot to learn” and is “looking forward to being there for two and a half weeks, and having the chance to meet Palestinians and people from different sides and deepen my learning and understanding.”
Miller-Heidke is not the first artist to reject Waters’s insistence to boycott Israel.
Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead, called the pressure not to perform in the Jewish State “patronizing.” Australian rockstar Nick Cave of the Bad Seeds acknowledged in November 2017 that he had not performed in Israel for 20 years due to the pressure coming from Waters but that he decided to perform in Israel to take a “principled stand” against the boycott movement.
In 2013, a Waters concert featured a floating pig displaying a Star of David, a move the artist has continuously defended, in part by asserting that accusations of anti-Semitism against him are unfounded because he has a Jewish daughter-in-law.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will begin in Tel Aviv on May 18.
[Photo: Kate Miller-Heidke / Wikimedia Commons]