Belgian artists demand to ban Israel from Eurovision

A collective of Belgian musicians, artists, cultural workers and cultural enthusiasts is calling for Israel to be banned from the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden. Their open letter was published in Flemish newspaper De Morgen on Thursday.

With the letter, the Belgian artists endorse an earlier open letter signed by more than a thousand Swedish artists. The signatories state that “Israel has already killed more than 31,000 Palestinians, including 13,000 children, and the Palestinian population lives in dehumanising conditions”. "The least we expect from the Belgian public broadcasters (VRT and RTBF) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is that they take current affairs and the warnings of the International Court of Justice, seriously," they add.

Earlier, Flemish broadcaster VRT had declared that there was nothing wrong with Israel’s participation as the Eurovision Song Contest is "a non-political event", "a competition between public broadcasters and not between governments". But the signatories underline that the public broadcasters are financed with government and taxpayers' money and that there are political representatives sitting in the VRT and RTBF boards of directors.

The artists also point out that Russia did get banned in 2022 because of the war in Ukraine. "So why the double standards now?", they ask in the letter. "We call on the EBU, VRT and RTBF to reverse their decision, to make a statement against the genocide, and to not let Israel participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden in 2024," the signatories conclude.

The letter was signed by amongst others the musicians Johannes Faes (Tourist LeMC), Flip Kowlier, Charlotte Adigéry, Jef Neve, Daan, Boudy Verleye (Brihang) and Johannes Genard (School is cool). The signatories also include Ayco Duyster (radio presenter), Rachida Aziz (artistic director) and Mich Leemans (artist/concert promoter).

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place from 7 to 11 May in the Swedish city of Malmö.

#FlandersNewsService | The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 logo seen displayed on a tablet. ​ © BELGA PHOTO Igor Golovniov / SOPA Images/Sipa USA


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