Iceland will take part in Eurovision next year, scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv. Numerous musicians, bands, and associated Eurovision players have signed a statement calling upon the world to boycott participation.
Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson, the director of programming at Icelandic public broadcasting company RÚV, told reporters that they have taken calls for a boycott seriously. As reported, some 17,000 Icelanders signed a petition shortly after last May’s contest concluded, calling upon RÚV to boycott the song contest.
“This decision is not based on the idea that this is not a political act,” Skarphéðinn said in a statement. “On the contrary, this coming together of different peoples has had from the start, as a main purpose and guiding light, the goal of spreading the power of unity and peace that comes from pop music and culture in general.”
The Guardian recently published an open letter from numerous figures calling upon the world to boycott participation in Eurovision next year.
“On 14 May, days after Israel’s Eurovision win, the Israeli army killed 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including six children, and injured hundreds, most with live ammunition,” the joint statement reads in part. “Amnesty International has condemned Israel’s shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy and Human Rights Watch described the killings as ‘unlawful and calculated’. Eurovision 2019 should be boycotted if it is hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights.”
The statement is signed by many well-known musicians, such as Roger Water and Brian Eno, as well as other bands and Eurovision participants. Iceland is also represented, in the form of former Eurovision participants Daði Freyr and Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir.