Greens ask SBS about Eurovision boycotts in Israel
Questions about a boycott of Jerusalem event in 2019 have reached the Australian parliament.
The Australian Greens have raised the question of Eurovision boycotts by SBS in Jerusalem due to recent violence in Gaza.
It follows calls for a boycott in Iceland and Ireland. It has also been raised in Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Last week Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon quizzed SBS CEO Michael Ebeid at a Senate Estimates hearing.
“Recent events along the Gaza border have shown that the Israeli army engage in lethal military actions, on days that are seen as ‘significant’ or when Palestinian-protests are planned,” she said.
“This means Eurovision‘s activities could impact on who lives and who dies. Will SBS consider these factors when it considers whether to participate in next year’s contest or if it’s held in 2020?”
Michael Ebeid reminded the Senator SBS has been broadcasting Eurovision for 35 years -an event that started 62 years ago post-World War II to reunify Europe.
“The whole point of Eurovision is to forget politics, forget all of that and unite communities and countries together in the spirit of song, in the spirit of celebration, in the spirit of culture. It transcends things you’re talking about,” he said.
“Israel has won before, Israel has hosted before and it in the spirit of unity and bringing people together and cultures together I can’t imagine that we would not televise Eurovision next year.”
Asked specifically if SBS had been following calls for a boycott of the 2019 event, Ebeid said, “I’ve certainly not seen any serious boycott, I know some quarters have talked about it but as I say the European Broadcasting Union is all about uniting people and communities not about the dividing them and and Eurovision Song Contest is something that transcends politics.”
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, siting beside Ebeid at the time, suggested Senator Rhiannon might be more interested in the Intervision Song Contest, previously the Eastern Bloc equivalent to Eurovision.