LGBT organisations cancel Eurovision parties as part of boycott

At least three LGBT+ organisations have cancelled planned Eurovision parties and screenings as a part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Israel has become embroiled in controversy, with some activists calling for a boycott due to the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.



Among those boycotting the event are LGBT+ organisations in Barcelona, Copenhagen and Melbourne, who all announced in recent weeks that planned Eurovision parties would not go ahead due to the ongoing conflict.

Barcelona LGBT+ organisation cancelled Eurovision screening to ‘defend human rights’

Barcelona-based LGBT+ organisation El Casal Lambda cancelled this year’s edition of its annual Eurovision party, which was due to take place at the city’s LGBT+ centre, due to their “long and extensive experience defending human rights.”

Meanwhile, an LGBT+ youth organisation in Copenhagen announced in a statement on Facebook earlier this month that its planned Eurovision party would not go ahead.

“We have listened to the feedback we have received and have chosen not to hold the event,” the statement said.

They said they had planned to celebrate Eurovision as they saw it as a non-political event and a celebration of the European community.

LGBT organisations boycott Eurovision by cancelling parties
FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty

“However, we in LGBT+ Youth do not feel that we can support the Eurovision, because this year there are a lot of problems around Eurovision’s use of pinkwashing.” They said they will instead host an ABBA themed party.

“Pinkwashing” describes the practice of an organisation, city or country aiming to appear as LGBT+ friendly in order to be seen as progressive.

A Melbourne LGBT+ club night cancelled a planned screening due to ‘human rights concerns’

Meanwhile, an LGBT+ club night in Melbourne called Fannys at Franny’s had intended to screen this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. However, they backtracked after an activist commented and said they were “disappointed” that a queer event was screening Eurovision due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The club night responded and said they had decided not to screen Eurovision due to “human rights concerns.”

Elsewhere, Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union cancelled its planned Eurovision party in an LGBT+ themed venue, according to the Irish News.

“The spontaneous show of support from LGBTQ+ groups helped turn Eurovision into a platform to expose Israel’s cynical use of LGBTQ+ rights to deflect criticism.”

– Alia Malak of PACBI

Meanwhile, a number of LGBT+ groups and activists are taking part in alternative Eurovision parties. One event, called Globalvision, will be broadcast online at the same time as the Eurovision final and will feature queer performers. It will broadcast footage from live shows in several countries.

Alia Malak of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) told PinkNews in a statement that Eurovision in Israel was trying to divert attention from its “racist and violent regime.”

“Recognising the indivisibility of struggles of oppressed communities, queer and trans liberation groups around the world answered the Palestinian call to boycott Eurovision,” Malak said.

“The spontaneous show of support from LGBTQ+ groups helped turn Eurovision into a platform to expose Israel’s cynical use of LGBTQ+ rights to deflect criticism, or pinkwashing, and to bring visibility to the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

Others have criticised calls for a Eurovision boycott, saying music ‘transcends boundaries’

However, many have also criticised calls for a boycott. Stephen Fry was just one famous figure who signed an open letter on April 30 condemning calls for a Eurovision boycott.

The letter—which was released by non-profit Creative Community for Peace—said that music “transcends boundaries and brings people together under a common bond.”

“We believe that unifying events, such as singing competitions, are crucial to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together through their shared love of music.”

Last year’s winner Netta, who represented Israel, told the BBC: “[Eurovision] is all about building bridges, it’s all about celebrating diversity, being all these people from all these places on the same stage and saying, ‘Hey, we’re all the same and we’re celebrating all these ethnicities and all these kinds and types of music.’”

“We believe that unifying events, such as singing competitions, are crucial to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together through their shared love of music.”

– Creative Community for Peace

“It shouldn’t be political, it’s a disaster if it will be,” she added.

Israeli broadcaster KAN, which is producing this year’s show, said that it has received no money from the government to host the event.






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