Nine participants in this year's Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) no longer wanted to remain silent and therefore jointly wrote a statement that they published on social media on Friday. With the statement they refer to the current situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, and in Israel.

Peter Philipp Schmitt

Editor in the “Germany and the World” department.

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    “It is important for us to show solidarity with the oppressed and to express our deep desire for peace, an immediate and lasting ceasefire and the safe return of all hostages,” says the Instagram account of the Swiss singer Nemo. “We stand united against all forms of hate, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”

    Signatories include artists from Ireland, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Lithuania and Finland. Mustii from Belgium later also posted the statement on Instagram. The Finnish duo Windows95man & Henri Piispanen and the Norwegian band Gåte, among others, had previously expressed criticism about Israel's participation and only agreed to represent their country at the ESC in Malmö after a “cooling off period”.

    The Briton Olly Alexander, known as an actor from the series “It's A Sin”, even signed an open letter from the organization “Voices4 London” in December in which Israel was described as an “apartheid state” in response to the terrorist attack by Hamas committed a “genocide” against the Palestinian people on October 7th.

    “Believe firmly in the unifying power of music”

    Now he wrote on Instagram that he had been thinking for a long time about what he should do. However, foregoing the ESC would not bring him or his colleagues any closer to their common goal. “We decided to participate and use our platform to call for peace.” The statement said: “We strongly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to overcome differences and have meaningful conversations and connections support financially. We see it as our duty to create and maintain this space in the firm hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy.”

    Several demonstrations for and against Israel's participation have already been announced in Malmö for the final week at the beginning of May. The producer of the television shows, Ebba Adielsson, told the AFP news agency last week that they were fully prepared for any scenario, both in front of and in the Malmö Arena. It can accommodate up to 15,000 spectators. In the city with its 370,000 inhabitants, including a large Muslim community, 100,000 visitors from 80 nations are expected to attend the ESC.