(Neta Barzilai celebrates winning the 2018 contest for Israel. Photo credit: Eurovisonary)

 

A conglomeration of Arab political parties within Israel known as the Joint Arab List is preparing to lobby the body governing the Eurovision Song Contest in a bid to deny next year’s event taking place in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

Per protocol, the country that wins any given year’s competition automatically receives the honor of hosting the following year’s event. As such, the 2019 Eurovision song contest is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next May afer Netta Barzilai’s song “Toy” gave Israel its fourth victory in this year’s event, despite a strong BDS campaign against the Israeli candidate.

Although one might think that something as inoffensive as a song contest might be free from politics, the BDS campaign has eagerly latched onto the opportunity to attack Israel’s legitimacy, with the drive headed by Arab-Israeli politicians.

As fully-fledged residents of Israel with equal rights, Arab-Israelis are able to vote and run for office, and enjoy unrestrained freedom of speech. Unfortunately, some abuse their democratic rights to spread lies and distortions, and incite hatred against the very country they supposedly represent, Israel.

“The Netanyahu government is spitting in the face of the world and the international community, both regarding the annexation of Jerusalem and its ongoing denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, and therefore it should not be awarded with a prize in the form of the Eurovision in Jerusalem” MK Yousef Jabareen, the head of the Joint List’s international relations committee, told Tazpit Press Service.

The move came at the same time as the Argentinian national football (soccer) team was forced to cancel a friendly match against the Israeli national team, following an intense, hate-filled campaign featuring threats against the players’ families, against star player Leo Messi, and against the Argentinian bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

The game had been scheduled to take place at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium on Saturday night but was cancelled at almost the last minute after the vicious BDS campaign which saw protestors turn up at the Argentine training camp in Spain last week, clutching football shirts dripping in “blood”.

Jabareen claimed that “the cancellation of the Eurovision is prompted by the same reasons, I raised in my letter to the Argentinian ambassador in Israel. The arguments are even more valid when it comes to a major international event in Jerusalem, such as the Eurovision”.

With the backlash to Israel’s victory in this year’s Eurovision song contest coming so soon, it promises to be a long, arduous journey to next year’s edition in Jerusalem, with this just the opening shot from the BDS campaign.

 

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