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Christian Eede
31 January 2024, 13:18

Robyn, DJ Seinfeld, Fever Ray, more Swedish artists call for Israel ban from Eurovision 2024

More than 1,000 artists from this year's host country have said Israel's inclusion "trivialises violations of international law and makes the suffering of the victims invisible"

Photo of Robyn in profile looking right wearing a blue jacket with the collar up

Robyn, Fever Ray and DJ Seinfeld are among more than 1,000 musicians from Sweden who have signed an open letter protesting Israel's inclusion in 2024's Eurovision Song Contest.

Sweden will be this year's host nation after their entrant, Loreen, won 2023's competition, and the 2024 final is set to take place in the city of Malmö on 11th May. The letter arguing against Israel's inclusion in Eurovision was submitted to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), owner and operator of the competition, and said: "The fact that countries that place themselves above humanitarian law are welcomed to participate in international cultural events trivialises violations of international law and makes the suffering of the victims invisible."

Peder Mannerfelt and Axel Boman are among the other Swedish artists who have added their names to the letter, which follows on from a similar campaign against Israel's inclusion in Eurovision organised by artists from Finland and Iceland. That campaign argued that "a country that commits war crimes and continues a military occupation" should not be allowed "to polish its image in the name of music".

More than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli Government and its army launched a full-scale attack of Gaza in October, in response to Hamas' attacks on Israel. In January, the United Nations' International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide by military forces in Gaza and demanded that, “with immediate effect”, its forces must not commit any of the acts covered by the genocide convention.

Following both letters, Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish public broadcaster of Eurovision 2024, released a statement, which said: "It is the EBU's decision which public broadcasters may take part in the event, and as the host broadcaster, SVT follows the EBU's decisions.

"The humanitarian suffering in this deeply complex conflict is devastating. Nobody can be left unmoved by the current situation in Gaza, or by the Hamas attack in Israel. We are also concerned about these developments. We understand and respect that groups of people wish to make their voices heard.

"As the host broadcaster, SVT has an ongoing dialogue with the EBU about the challenges of producing Europe's largest TV-production in times of unrest. We are humbled by the task and are working to ensure the project can be carried out in the best way possible, with the vision that music unites."

The EBU previously expelled Russia from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022 following the country's full-scale invasion of Ukraine early that year. Belarus was also banned for violations of press freedom a year earlier.

Last year, a number of musicians from across the world of electronic music signed an open letter condeming Israel's "brutal and ongoing attack on Gaza".