(JTA) — Britain’s chief rabbi defended Israel’s right to host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in response to an open letter by British public figures demanding that the event be moved.
“Calls for the Eurovision Song Contest to be moved from Israel will ultimately harm, and not help, the cause of peace,” Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told The Daily Mail in an interview published on Sunday. “I call upon those advocating for BDS to turn their efforts towards collaboration and reconciliation.”
The open letter calling for the BBC to refuse to participate in Eurovision unless the venue is changed was published last week in The Guardian.
“Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,” the letter said.
Eurovision will take place in May in Tel Aviv after Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won last year’s contest with the song “Toy.”