Robyn, Fever Ray, and Other Swedish Artists Call for Israel Ban at Eurovision Song Contest 2024

Robyn, July 2019 (Joseph Okpako/Redferns)

Robyn and Fever Ray are among more than 1,000 Swedish signatories of an open letter calling for the Eurovision Song Contest to ban Israel from the 2024 competition, the final of which takes place in the Swedish city of Malmö on May 11. Axel Boman, Refused, DJ Seinfeld, Peder Mannerfelt, and First Aid Kit are also among the signatories.

Per the the Gazan Health Ministry, Israeli forces have killed more than 25,000 Palestinians since the outbreak of war in October, following Hamas’ attack on Israel. The United Nations’ International Court of Justice in The Hague has also called on Israeli leaders to prevent acts of genocide by military forces in the Gaza Strip.

The letter to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), owner and operator of Eurovision, argues, “The fact that countries that place themselves above humanitarian law are welcomed to participate in international cultural events trivializes violations of international law and makes the suffering of the victims invisible.”

The letter follows a similar campaign spearheaded by Finnish and Icelandic artists, which argued that “a country that commits war crimes and continues a military occupation” should not be allowed “to polish its image in the name of music.”

Following both letters, Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish public broadcaster of Eurovision 2024, released the following statement:

Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is generating debate and today a number of Swedish artists have called on the EBU to cancel Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2024.

It is the EBU’s decision which public broadcasters may take part in the event, and as the host broadcaster, SVT follows the EBU’s decisions.

The humanitarian suffering in this deeply complex conflict is devastating. Nobody can be left unmoved by the current situation in Gaza, or by the Hamas attack in Israel. We are also concerned about these developments. We understand and respect that groups of people wish to make their voices heard.

As the host broadcaster, SVT has an ongoing dialogue with the EBU about the challenges of producing Europe’s largest TV-production in times of unrest.

We are humbled by the task and are working to ensure the project can be carried out in the best way possible, with the vision that music unites.

The European Broadcasting Union banned Russia from the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, saying, “in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute.” At the same time, the EBU referred to itself as “an apolitical member organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service.” Belarus was banned for press freedom violations the previous year.

Originally Appeared on Pitchfork