A cluster of stars have called for the public broadcaster to press the European Broadcasting Union to take the singing contest away from the Israeli state.
The annual event is scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv from May 14 to May 18, after Israeli singer Netta won the competition in Lisbon last year with Toy.
The letter – which also includes Vivienne Westwood and Mike Leigh – urges the BBC to call on the EBU to “relocate [the contest] to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed” ahead of next week’s UK selection show.
“Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations,” the letter reads.
The letter, published by the Guardian, continues: “On 8 February, the BBC will screen You Decide, the show it says will ‘deliver the UK the artist it deserves to fly the flag out in Tel Aviv in May’. For any artist of conscience, this would be a dubious honour.
“They and the BBC should consider that ‘You Decide’ is not a principle extended to the Palestinians, who cannot decide to remove Israel’s military occupation and live free of apartheid.”
The written document claims that a more “inclusive” approach to Eurovision is shown in the “outpouring of support across Europe for the Palestinian call for artists and broadcasters not to go to Tel Aviv”.
In response, the BBC said that it was “not appropriate to use the BBC’s participation for political reasons”.
A statement read: “The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC’s participation for political reasons.
“Because of this we will be taking part in this year’s event. The host country is determined by the rules of the competition, not the BBC.”
The letter comes the week before a special one-off show on BBC Two, held yearly, to allow the public to choose this year’s Eurovision entrant from six acts.
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