Vivienne Westwood, Peter Gabriel among British personalities opposed to Eurovision in Israel

The designer and musician were part of a group that wrote a letter urging the BBC to cancel coverage of the event

British designer Vivienne Westwood acknowledges the public at the end of Spring/Summer 2008 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris, 01 October 2007. AFP PHOTO PIERRE VERDY (Photo credit should read PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)
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After British girl band The Tuts refused to represent the United Kingdom in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, because it's being held in Israel, 50 personalities from the country's creative industries have signed a letter urging the BBC to cancel coverage of this year's event.

From architects, artists and DJs, to musicians, comedians and fashion designers, the group has endorsed the document, which says “Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights”.

Notable figures who are opposed to the event include fashion figurehead Dame Vivienne Westwood, singer Peter Gabriel, actresses Julie Christie and Maxine Peake, Scottish author Alison Louise Kennedy, film writer Mike Leigh, rock band Wolf Alice and songwriter Roger Waters.

Waters, Leigh and Kennedy had also put their name against a letter penned last September, alongside American playwright Eve Ensler, actress Alia Shawkat, Eurovision 2018 national judge Fresh the Lion from Australia, eight-time Eurovision commentator Mike Murphy from Ireland, and dozens of artists from Europe, many of whom were finalists at previous editions of the contest.

TOPSHOT - French singer Bilal Hassani poses in Paris on January 28, 2019.  Bilal Hassani, 19, will represent France at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in May. / AFP / Thomas SAMSON
Detractors aside, a number of artists are adopting a business-as-usual stance, including singer Bilal Hassani, who will represent France at contest. AFP

The group had urged organisers to “cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record… until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business as usual with the state that in denying them basic rights”.