Over 1,000 Swedish artists, including many popular names in the country, are calling for the European Radio and Television Union (EBU) to ban Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest set to take place in Malmö, Sweden, this spring.
“Israel’s brutal warfare in Gaza has destroyed vital civilian infrastructure, caused inhumane living conditions and forced 85 percent of the residents to flee,” reads the open letter, as published in Aftonbladet.
The open letter claimed the “credibility” of the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the annual song contest, would be in question if it allowed Israel to compete.
“We believe that by allowing Israel’s participation, the EBU exhibits a remarkable double standard that undermines the organization’s credibility,” reads the petition, which was signed by Robyn, Fever Ray, First Aid Kit, the Knife’s Olof Dreijer, Refused, and Viagra Boys, Marit Bergman, Timbuktu, and Melissa Horn, among others. In addition, the mother of Greta Thunberg, Malena Ernman, also signed the letter. Thunberg has been active in supporting Palestine since the conflict broke out.
In the appeal, the artists point out that the EBU excluded Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and also prohibited member companies from Belarus from being able to participate over the violation of the EBU’s press freedom rules.
The Swedish artists point to the 100 journalists killed in Gaza and foreign press being denied access as being an attack by Israel on press freedom, similar to Belarusian actions.
The EBU, however, has dismissed the open letter, saying Israel has met all the requirements needed to compete in the song contest.
The Swedish letter comes after a similar letter was presented to the EBU from Finnish and Icelandic artists.
Israel is under international pressure for its bombing campaign in Gaza, which has killed nearly 27,000 people and wounded over 65,000, according to Gaza health authorities. Israel contends that it will not stop its campaign until Hamas is removed from power and the hostages taken during the Oct. 7 attacks are released.