A leading Jewish group has condemned a protest against SBS broadcasting the Eurovision song contest in Israel next year as “hostile anti-Israel propaganda.”
Activist group BDS Australia, which is a coalition of pro-Palestinian organisations, has hijacked the SBS logo and branding in the campaign.
The next Eurovision will take place in Tel Aviv after Israel’s Netta Barzilai won this year’s competition with her song Toy.
Several prominent celebrities including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and actress Alia Shawkat are boycotting the event with demands the European Broadcasting Commission finds a less controversial location.
Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Australia is a coalition of pro-Palestinian organisations that stages protests against the state of Israel.
BDS Australia is distributing red stickers with the broadcaster’s branding and logo that read: “Boycott Eurovision 2019. Don’t celebrate Israel’s apartheid crimes #FreePalestine #BDS.”
BDS spokesman Hilmi Dabbagh said holding the acclaimed contest near a conflict area was “astonishingly inappropriate”.
“We love SBS and we enjoy Eurovision, but having the song contest just 50km from the Gaza fence, where Palestinians are shot to death for protesting for their rights, is astonishingly inappropriate.
“SBS may choose to go ahead with business as usual, but it leaves a stain on its reputation in the eyes of many Australians, if nothing else for its insensitivity with regards to many of its viewers.”
Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, described the campaign as “misguided”.
“This misguided petition takes the extreme and hostile anti-Israel propaganda to a shocking new level, invoking the lie that Israel stole land from the Palestinians and outrageously accusing Israel of apartheid and of intentionally killing Palestinians.” he said
“This demonisation and delegitimization is a simplistic one sided dumbing down of a complicated conflict which charges Israel with absolute culpability, and calls for the state to be shunned and isolated.”
SBS maintains any use of the SBS logo that is not endorsed by the broadcaster is prohibited by law and infringes on its intellectual property rights.
An SBS spokeswoman said: “As is common practice for organisations managing and protecting their brand, SBS has contacted this organisation about their unauthorised use of the SBS logo.”
Mr Dabbagh said BDS Australia had been trying to meet with the SBS board to discuss a range of issues including the use of the logo.
BDS Australia launched a petition last month calling for SBS to boycott Eurovision 2019 and had gathered almost 1800 signatures as of yesterday.
SBS said it would broadcast the 64th Eurovision contest as planned.