A spokesperson for Australian broadcaster SBS has responded to online calls for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Israel.
SBS told the Australian Jewish News that Eurovision 2019 will be broadcast in Australia:
“SBS will continue to be the exclusive broadcaster of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019.
“SBS has been the home of Eurovision for 35 years because of the way the contest celebrates diversity and brings different cultures together, united in a common passion for music.”
The statement came after the Australian Anti-Defamation Commission, a civil rights organisation focusing on Anti-Semitism, wrote to SBS to urge the broadcaster to reject the petition. In addition to the petition, a number of Australian artists had made calls for the event to be relocated from Israel.
The issue had previously been raised in the Australian Parliament. Michael Ebeid the CEO of SBS was questioned by Green Senator Lee Rhiannon during a debate shortly after Israel’s victory in Eurovision 2018. Mr Ebeid also resisted calls for a boycott at that time:
“The whole point of Eurovision is to forget politics, forget all of that and unite communities and countries together in the spirit of song, in the spirit of celebration, in the spirit of culture. It transcends things you’re talking about
Israel has won before, Israel has hosted before and it in the spirit of unity and bringing people together and cultures together I can’t imagine that we would not televise Eurovision next year.”
Since Israel won the contest in May, there have been numerous campaigns on social media by various groups for a boycott of the 2019 edition. Nations such as Iceland and Ireland have faced particular pressures. However, Executive Supervisor of the EBU, Jon Ola Sand, recently played down these calls.
SBS has not yet confirmed whether they will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Australia’s participation in the contest is dependent on the 2019 Host broadcaster, KAN, and the European Broadcasting Union inviting SBS to take part in the competition for another year.
In 2018, Australia was represented by Jessica Mauboy with We Got Love. She finished in 20th place with 99 points in the Grand Final of the contest held in Lisbon, Portugal.
Source: The Australian Jewish News
Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Australia debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015 as part of celebrations marking 60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest. The broadcaster SBS has broadcast Eurovision in Australia since 1983. Australia’s best result to date came in 2016 Australia when Dami Im, with the song “Sound of Silence,” finished in 2nd place in the final scoring 511 points, just 23 points away from victory.