As the Eurovision Song Contest is about to kick off this week in its 2019 controversial version taking place in Israel, calls for a global boycott by activists are still going on in protest of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Calls to boycott the song competition, scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv from May 14 to 18, 2019, have mostly succeeded in keeping many artists away from the contest. These include famous names like Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Roger Waters, Annie Lennox, and Brian Eno. Yet, artists like Radiohead, Madonna, Nick Cave, and Metallica did not respond to the Boycott calls and are still set to perform in Israel.
Still think that @Eurovision is not political? Israel is scheduling bombing around it. @Madonna use your voice for freedom and equality. Your actions will speak louder than any words on a stage that Palestinians and allies have asked you to boycott. https://t.co/sbSFXIvEbQ— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) May 6, 2019
In response, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy launched a public relations campaign to respond to the calls for the Eurovision boycott and to divert international attention from it.
The ministry launched a website called “Boycott Eurovision” that comes with a headline “Welcome to the true story of BDS: Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational Israel”, in reference to the BDS movement that stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, which promotes many types of boycotting Israel. The website aims at whitewashing Israel.
Media reports confirmed that the search engines like Google is using the words “boycott” and “Eurovision” and linking them to the ministry’s site.
How to resurrect lost narrative? "Internet ads on Google featuring..words 'boycott' & 'Eurovision' encourage searchers to click on a link that, in fact, leads them to a pro-Israel website which - in a play on the BDS initials - extols Israel as 'Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational'" https://t.co/WF6kjuUFDT— osiris322 (@osiris322) May 10, 2019
In addition to the website, a teaser video for the song contest has been released, Thursday, by Israel’s state-broadcast network, KAN Broadcasting Corporation, which is airing the singing contest.
The disturbing teaser featured two performers; a man who introduces himself as a Russian Jew and the other an Arab citizen of Israel and one of the Eurovision hosts this year by the name of Lucy Ayoub.
The two performers address the tourists’ fears about terror and oppression and tell them that they [in Israel] have more than that. “We are much more than war and occupation,” in a bid to convince them to come to Israel.
They go on to describe the good things that Israel has, from milk, honey, nice weather, and the low prices. Then one of the performers goes on to say: “Most of us are Jews only but some of us are greedy,”.
The teaser was shared widely on the social media and received wide criticism from Israelis who some of them described it as “offensive” or “failed sense of satire”.
National broadcaster = international embarrassment. This is why “in jokes” should stay that way.— Simon Plosker (@SimonPlosker) May 10, 2019
Did someone actually get paid to make this? Honestly we spend half our time undoing the damage we do to ourselves. You haven’t got a clue- it is absolutely absurd this has gone public. Ichs.— David Collier (@mishtal) May 10, 2019
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