Australia

Calls for SBS to boycott Eurovision Israel

BDS Australia calling for a boycott of Eurovision being held in Israel. Source: SBS News

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Australia (BDS Australia) have staged a protest outside SBS Australia's office over plans to broadcast next year's Eurovision song contest in Israel.

Demonstrators from Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Australia (BDS Australia) held a banner outside the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) on Thursday calling for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019.

SBS has televised Eurovision for 35 years and will continue to broadcast the 64th contest to be held in Tel Aviv in May.

Tel Aviv was chosen as the host city - keeping with the tradition - after Israel's Netta won the previous contest with her song 'Toy'.

SBS's decision to broadcast the event has angered BDS Australia due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

BDS Australia has a "fundamental problem with Eurovision going ahead in the midst of the catastrophe occurring in Gaza" and called on SBS to "uphold its proud history as a truth teller and a path breaker".

Hilmi Dabbagh, a convener of BDS Australia, attended the peaceful demonstration with around eight colleagues.

Hilmi from BDS Australia.
Hilmi from BDS Australia.
SBS News

"We need the Australian people to know this is not right and SBS has very high ethical value and represents the fair-go of Australians and hence, we expect SBS not to broadcast Eurovision if it happens in Israel," he said.

Following the event, an SBS spokesperson said the broadcaster will continue to host the event which celebrates diversity and inclusion.

“SBS respects and supports the right for people to express their views and we acknowledge the concerns raised by those opposed to the contest being held in Israel," the statement read.

"SBS has been proudly broadcasting Eurovision for 35 years and we will continue to do so in 2019 because of the spirit of the event in bringing people and cultures together in a celebration of diversity and inclusion through music."

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