(AP/Armando Franca, File)
Netta Barzilai

UK Chief Rabbi slams anti-Israel BDS movement over bid to spoil Eurovision contest in Tel Aviv.

By The Algemeiner 

UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has castigated the anti-Israel BDS movement over its effort to organize a boycott of the Eurovision competition set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.

“Whereas peacemakers seek dialogue and common ground, for more than a decade the BDS movement has pursued a campaign of division and demonization,” Mirvis told The Daily Mail. “Calls for the Eurovision song contest to be moved from Israel will ultimately harm, and not help, the cause of peace.”

“I call upon those advocating for BDS to turn their efforts towards collaboration and reconciliation,” the rabbi added.

Earlier this week, 50 well-known artists — including vehement Israel critic Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman — published a letter in The Guardian in which they urged the BBC to not air this year’s contest.

The BBC rejected that appeal, saying in a statement that Eurovision “is not a political event and does not endorse any political message or campaign.”

“The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity, and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC’s participation for political reasons,” it added. “Because of this we will be taking part in this year’s event. The host country is determined by the rules of the competition, not the BBC.”

Meanwhile, more than 11,000 people have signed a Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) petition — addressed to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) — encouraging “all our friends and colleagues around the world to express their support for an exciting and successful Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv.”

The Jewish state earned the right to host Eurovision this year when Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won the 2018 contest in Portugal.