Stephen Fry, Simon Callow and Marina Abramović oppose Eurovision boycott proposal

Stephen Fry and Simon Callow speak out against Israel Eurovision boycott
Stephen Fry and Simon Callow speak out against Israel Eurovision boycott Credit: Geoff Pugh/Getty Images Europe

Stephen Fry, Simon Callow and Marina Abramović have signed a statement in support of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The statement, which was released by the entertainment industry non-profit organisation Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), responds to a number of recent petitions to boycott the ceremony.

The CCFP statement, signatories to which include Sharon Osbourne, Rachel Riley, Gene Simmons and Tracy Ann Oberman, reads: “We believe the cultural boycott movement is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.

“While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.” 

It comes in response to several celebrities, including designer Vivienne Westwood, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and 2018 Mercury Prize-winning band Wolf Alice, calling for a boycott of this year’s contest. 

British designer Vivienne Westwood  Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP

In an open letter published in the Guardian on January 29, figures from across the entertainment industry urged the BBC not to support the competition, arguing, “Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights.”

Over 15,000 people have signed a statement in response on Change.org. It reads: “The spirit of togetherness is under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019”.

Ari Ingel, Director of CCFP, has commented: “This year, approximately 200 million people will watch, visit and take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, celebrating music and the diversity of our different cultures.

“The members of the entertainment industry who have signed this statement, along with the thousands of individuals who have endorsed its message, all believe in building bridges through music and the arts as a means to achieving greater understanding and peace in the region.”