April 14, 2024

This year’s UK Eurovision entry has rejected calls for him to boycott this year’s Song Contest in protest at Israel being included in the competition.

Pop star Olly Alexander responded Friday to an open letter from Queers for Palestine, signed by more than 450 artists urging him to boycott the event taking place in Sweden in May.

Alexander said in a lengthy post on X (formerly Twitter) why he thought it was right for him and other artists to remain in the Contest:

“As a participant I’ve taken a lot of time to deliberate over what to do and the options available to me. It is my current belief that removing myself from the contest wouldn’t bring us any closer to our shared goal.”

He added that he had discussed the dilemma with entries from other nations, and they had come to the same conclusion.

Alexander added that he supported all actions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, the return of Israeli hostages and a journey towards peace:

“I hope and pray that our calls are answered and there is an end to the atrocities we are seeing taking place in Gaza.”

Earlier in the day, Queers for Palestine’s open letter had urged Alexander to quit the Contest, saying:

“We share the vision of queer joy and abundance you’ve offered through your music, and share your belief in collective liberation for all. In this spirit, we ask you to heed the Palestinian call to withdraw from Eurovision.”

“The most powerful use of Olly’s voice at this moment would be to use it to announce his withdrawal from Eurovision.”

Despite the Eurovision Song Contest’s insistence on entries remaining apolitical, this year’s event has been shrouded in controversy. Israel’s entry, originally titled October Rain, was deemed too political with its reference to the Hamas attack in October 2023. The country has now amended its song and retitled it Hurricane.

The BBC reports the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the Contest, has responded to Alexander’s statement, asserting:

“We firmly believe that the Eurovision Song Contest is a platform that should always transcend politics, promote togetherness and bring audiences together across the world.”

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