Olly Alexander Responds To Calls For Him To Boycott Eurovision Over Israel’s Participation

Olly Alexander Responds To Calls For Him To Boycott Eurovision Over Israel’s Participation

Last month, Olly Alexander, the British synthpop artist who used to record as Years & Years, released the Danny L Harle-produced “Dizzy.” It’s the first single that Alexander has put out under his own name, and it also serves as the UK entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Plenty of people would like to change that. This year’s Eurovision has come under major fire for allowing Israel to participate even during the country’s campaign of genocide in Gaza. People have called for Olly Alexander to boycott the contest, and he has now put out a statement explaining why he won’t do that.

The European Broadcasting Union, Eurovision’s governing body, previously excluded Russia during the invasion of Ukraine, but it’s decreed that Israel will be allowed into this year’s context. That announcement came after Robyn, Fever Ray, and a thousand other Swedish artists signed a statement demanding Israel’s exclusion. (Sweden is this year’s Eurovision host country.) Earlier this week, the group Queers For Palestine published an open letter calling for Olly Alexander to withdraw from the contest: “We share the vision of queer joy and abundance you’ve offered through your music, and share your belief in collective liberation for all. In this spirit, we ask you to heed the Palestinian call to withdraw from Eurovision.” This morning, Olly Alexander shared his response.

On Instagram this morning, Olly Alexander posted a shared statement from himself and a group of eight other Eurovision participants from different countries:

We want to begin by acknowledging the privilege of taking part in Eurovision.

In light of the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and particularly in Gaza, and in Israel, we do not feel comfortable being silent. It is important for us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and communicate our heartfelt wish for peace, an immediate and lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages. We stand united against all forms of hate, including antisemitism and islamophobia.

We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections.

We feel that it is our duty to uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy.

In a separate post, Olly Alexander wrote that he’d responded directly to Queers For Palestine, and he shared what he wrote in his response:

I wholeheartedly support action being taken to demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the return of all hostages and safety and security of all citizens in Palestine and Israel.

I know some people will choose to boycott this year’s Eurovision and I understand and respect their decision.

As a participant I’ve taken a lot of time to deliberate what to do and the options available to me. It is my current belief that removing myself from the contest wouldn’t bring us any closer to our shared goal.

Instead, I’ve been speaking with some of the other EV contestants and we’ve decided that by taking part we can use our platform to come together and call for peace.

I hope and pray that our calls are answered and there is an end to the atrocities that we are seeing taking place in Gaza.

I’d like to thank the many signatories of this letter whose work I deeply admire and respect and hope that we can contribute to work together in creating a better world for all of us.

In December, some conservatives called for the BBC to fire Olly Alexander as this year’s Eurovision representative because he’d signed a Voices4London open letter calling Israel an “apartheid regime.”

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