Here’s Why People Are Boycotting Eurovision This Week

"Palestinians have called for artists to withdraw from the contest"

Eurovision is on this week – but not everyone will be watching.

Protestors and fans have launched a boycott this year due to the continued inclusion of Israel in the competition.

For months, Israel has continued its offence on Gaza and the Palestinian people, leaving close to 35,000 people (and over 13,000 children) dead.

Back in 2022, Eurovision barred Russia from the competition one day after its invasion of Ukraine, a move which this year has left many wondering why the same rules haven’t been applied for Israel.

In fact, the opposite has occurred as Palestinian flags and ceasefire monikers continue to be banned from the stage. Eurovision officials have said that only “national and pride flags” will be permitted in the venue, and that they retain the right to remove any such barred flags.

Over 400 Irish artists have supported the boycott of Eurovision this year, while also encouraging Irish representative Bambi Thug to withdraw from the competition.

In an open letter, they said: “We welcome that you have chosen, along with other participating artists, not to be silent. However, while you say “My heart and solidarity has and will always lie with the oppressed” – by participating in Eurovision you will be standing with the oppressor.

“Palestinians have called for artists to withdraw from the contest, and if your wish to stand in solidarity is sincere, then you should listen to them.”

Elsewhere, over 1,000 Swedish artists have also called for an Israel ban (the competition is taking place in Malmo this year), while many other fans in Finland, Iceland, and more, have supported the boycott on the grounds that “a country that commits war crimes and continues a military occupation is given a public stage to polish its image in the name of music.”

UK campaign group Queers for Palestine have also asked their representative Olly Alexander to reconsider his place in the event, saying: “There can be no party with a state committing apartheid and genocide.”

A number of alternative Eurovision events are taking place this week, in Ireland and elsewhere.

These include the Shine on Palestine alternative Eurovision events taking place in Dublin and Galway, the Boycott Boogie in Dublin, and the Bureau de Change song contest in Dublin. 

Photos via Andres Poveda