The legend of Roman Emperor Nero fiddling whilst Rome burnt is a fitting analogy to holding an increasingly comical (unintentionally so) Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv at a time when Israel stands on the cusp of a major new war against Palestine. Over a dozen Palestinian civilians have been killed after days of intense Israeli airstrikes on Gaza whilst Tel Aviv has promised further large scale missile attacks. It is also being reported that Israeli officials claim they are ready for a ground invasion of Gaza.
With the Eurovision Contest set to begin in Tel Aviv on 14 May, it is both morally and practically unconscionable for such a festival to take place under the current conditions. For those who do not find it morally and ethically repugnant to hold a money making celebration kilometres away from an active zone of war and occupation, it would at least be practical to consider the safety of those attending the event.
With tensions running high, there is simply no guarantee that civilians from Europe attending the event would not be wounded or even killed should the violence expand as it could very well do.
Long before the current aggression against Gaza, members of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement rallied to change the location of this year’s Eurovision to a politically neutral location. BDS continues to advocate for a cultural boycott of Israel until Palestinian statehood is achieved and Palestinian human rights are universally acknowledged.
Now however, the matter is all the more serious because innocent lives could be jeopardised by the irresponsible decision to hold the Contest in Tel Aviv.
At this point therefore, the only logical decision would be to move the event elsewhere. Anything less is both immoral and irresponsible.