More than 1,000 artists from its host country EurovisionSweden, signed an open letter calling for him blockade of Israel from this year’s organization of the song contest due to the “brutal war in Gaza”.

Published in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladetthe open letter states that by allowing Israel to participate, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) “undermines the credibility of the organization.”

“The fact that countries that place themselves above humanitarian law are welcome to participate in international cultural events trivializes violations of international law and renders the suffering of victims invisible”says the letter, published late Monday night, January 29, 2024.

The signatories include internationally successful artists as well as former Swedish Eurovision contestants such as Eric Saade and Malena Ernman, the mezzo-soprano opera singer who is also the mother of activist Greta Thunberg.

The letter follows a similar resolution signed by around 1,400 artists from Finland and Iceland, who also called for Israel to be excluded from the song contest, which will be held in Malmö from 7 to 11 May.

In response, the EBU announced that Israel would not be disqualified, arguing that the Eurovision Song Contest is a competition between public broadcasters and not states.

A year earlier, in 2021, Belarus could not participate in the contest after the EBU expelled Belarus’ public broadcaster BTRC for violating the broadcasting union’s rules on press freedom.

Thirty-seven broadcasters are set to take part in this year’s 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Luxembourg will return after an absence of more than three decades.

Israel has participated in the event since 1973 and won the competition four times, in 1978, 1979, 1998 and 2018.