Open Letter

Palestinians Urge International Speakers to Withdraw from Eurovisions Conference at Tel Aviv University

Participating in the Eurovision-related conference helps legitimize Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

As Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid and colonial oppression, we call on international speakers to withdraw from the Eurovisions Conference to be held at Tel Aviv University, May 14-15.

Participating in the conference helps legitimize Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

The conference is set to take place just an hour’s drive from where Israel killed at least 25 Palestinians, including children, in Gaza last weekend. Since the end of March 2018, Israel has killed 279 Palestinians in Gaza and injured over 30,000, many with life changing disabilities.

The numbers are staggering. Behind those numbers are Palestinian families struggling under Israel’s life-crushing, 12-year-long siege and repeated, devastating bombings. When they protest, Israeli snipers implement the military’s shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy, killing men, women and children, journalists, medics and the disabled.

A recent UN Human Rights Council probe has accused Israel of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tel Aviv University, which will host and is sponsoring the conference, is deeply complicit in maintaining Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Tel Aviv University hosts the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), which boasts of having developed the so-called Dahiya Doctrine, or doctrine of disproportionate force. Adopted by the Israeli military, the Dahiya Doctrine calls for “the destruction of the national [civilian] infrastructure, and intense suffering among the [civilian] population.”

The conference’s theme of “belonging” is emptied of all meaning. It is set to take place the very day that Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or catastrophe, when a majority of the indigenous Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes and lands 71 years ago following Israel’s establishment on the ruins of our homeland.

We belong to this land, yet over half the Palestinian people, six million refugees forced out by Israel and their descendants, are denied the inherent and UN-stipulated right to return to it. The other half is forced to live under the domination of Israel’s apartheid regime.

We ask you to imagine discussing “belonging” at a conference with white Afrikaners in Johannesburg during apartheid in South Africa.

For nearly a year now, Palestinians have been calling for a boycott of Eurovision and related events. We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of solidarity from around the world, from hundreds of prominent and local artists to trade unions, political parties, LGBTQ+ groups and diverse people of conscience.

We call on you to stand with us in our struggle for freedom, justice and equality. At the very least, we urge you not to undermine our nonviolent human rights struggle by legitimizing Israel’s oppressive regime under the whitewashing banner of “belonging.”

Please withdraw from the Eurovisions Conference.

Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)


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