There is a worrying growth of anti-Israel sentiment among the Left in Britain and across Europe and most of it crosses the line between justifiable criticism of the Netanyahu government and anti-Semitism under the guise of pro-Palestinian politics.
This weekend The Guardian published a story reporting on a letter signed by over 130 artists from participating Eurovision nations all demanding for a boycott of Eurovision 2019. They cite that days after Netta’s victory, the Israeli army killed 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including six children. Unlike other Eurovision sites, I’ve decided to comment on it, because having been to Israel and the West Bank, I’m sick of the one-sided hysteria and hypocrisy.
The problem here is that had Russia won the Contest and intended to host, would the outrage mob be calling for a boycott? I’d wager not. This is despite the nation reportedly influencing elections in the US and the UK, in addition to the shooting down of flight MA-17, the annexation of Crimea and South-Ossetia, the planned assassination and coup in Montenegro, the cyber attacks on European and Ukrainian infrastructure, the killing of Alexander Litvinenko on UK soil and the recent attempted murder of Yulia and Sergei Skripal which seriously injured a police officer and resulted in the death of a UK citizen. This also overlooks the coincidental killing or incarceration of the Russian government’s critics, as well as the nation’s treatment of the LGBT community.
The same outrage mob would be blaring Dum Tek Tek at full blast on the news of Turkey re-joining Eurovision, yet Erdoğan is just as fond of incarcerating dissenting voices and stifling free speech.
Israel is the Middle East’s only true secular democracy. It allows free speech and protects the rights of the LGBT community. You can openly practice Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and even Jedi if one wishes. Protests are permitted, yet any group of people wanting to protest against the Putin, Erdoğan and Hamas regimes in the respective countries would be locked up or severely bruised and battered as a result. Gays can be locked up for 10-years in Gaza – that’s if they make it to prison alive. Are these celebrities so ignorant, or are they part of the new wave of fashionable left wing anti-Semitism that defends the likes of Iran, Russia and every other despotic regime over those nations that aspire to uphold Western ideals?
This isn’t a defence of all Israeli actions, but the media often presents a one-sided angle and regularly ignores that Israeli action is often the result of 100+ rockets being fired at civilian areas or Hamas operatives trying to slaughter innocent families and children. Israel is the last refuge for Jewish people, as well as being home to a multitude of other cultures that all participate in the defence of their nation. The rights and wrongs of that have nothing to do with Eurovision.
Eurovision is a music contest. Let it be a music contest.