Wiesenthal Centre to European Broadcasting Union: “Roger Waters’ Boycott Campaign Against 2019 Eurovision in Israel Violates EBU’s Mission Statement”

September 11, 2018

In a letter to European Broadcasting Union (EBU) President, Jean-Paul Philippot, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage at the BDS campaign against Israel hosting the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

Samuels noted: “In May of this year, the Jewish world and its friends celebrated Israel’s fourth victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. Netta Barzilai’s song ‘Toy’ led with 529 points followed by Cyprus as runner-up with 436.”

The letter added: “These votes for Netta came mainly from a world-wide ‘telephone call-in’ underpinning the EBU’s Director-General, Noel Curran’s statement:

‘Public service [media] is the bedrock of democratic societies. Our role is to champion its values and ensure our Members are able to continue to play a vital role in European culture, society and public discourse’.”

Samuels argued, “Unfortunately, the EBU has an enemy, bent upon the destruction of its democratic values. He is Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame, but a notorious hatemonger against the Jewish State,” continuing, “How could this be possible as we recall his 1989 dramatic concert - in the cradle of the Holocaust - at the fallen Berlin Wall, leaving as its anthem Just Another Brick in the Wall?”

The Centre stressed, “We pray for the day that Palestinians might breach their walls of hate and come together with Israelis as one. That might have been in 1947, had they followed the Jews in accepting the United Nations Partition Resolution, rather than launch a war of aggression. ‘Palestine’, this year might have - together with Israel - feted its 70th birthday. It may have even participated in the Eurovision Song Contest.”

Samuels highlighted, “Nevertheless, Roger Waters is calling on the EBU to ‘cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and to hold it in another country,’ in violation of your strategy and above mission statement celebrating democracy.”

The letter pointed out, “Seventeen member countries have already confirmed their 2019 attendance in Israel - almost half of last year’s contest: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.”

The letter emphasized, “The EBU spokesman has stated that ‘Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have both submitted extremely strong bids which meet the needs of the contest’.”

The Centre urged Mr. Philippot to ensure that the, "EBU endorse its democratic bedrock and champion its values, by ensuring that Roger Waters’ boycott campaign ends in the dustbin of Eurovision’s history.”

“We and all who voted for the message of Netta - I’m Not Your Toy - look forward to a full complement at the 2019 Contest in Israel,” concluded Samuels.

For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at +33 609 770 158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).
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