Mira Awad, an Israeli Arab singer – she has faced calls to withdraw from the Eurovision
Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem
An Israeli Arab singer who was chosen to represent her country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been urged to withdraw in protest against the military action in the Gaza Strip.
Mira Awad, a Christian Arab, was selected this week as part of a duet with Achinoam Nini, a Jewish Israeli known as Noa, in what was supposed to bring a message of peace at this year’s contest.
However,more than a dozen well-known Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals have today sent Awad a letter calling for her withdrawal, claiming her participation in the May 16 competition would convey a false impression of national coexistence used to cover up the deaths of Palestinian civilians.
* F*kc the “intellectuals”- guess who they are?
“The Israeli government is sending the two of you to Moscow as part of its propaganda machine that is trying to create the appearance of Jewish-Arab ‘coexistence’ under which it carries out the daily massacre of Palestinian civilians. Israel would not be able to proceed with its war crimes without the support of the international community and the United States and European Union in particular,” read the letter.
Neither of the singers was available for comment, but their manager, Ofer Pesenzon, said that the pair were committed to “working towards dialogue between the two peoples in the hopes that it will one day lead to peace”.
He added: “This cycle of hate certainly won’t lead us to any positive achievements. We will keep focusing on work and on writing the songs, because we don’t have much time to waste.”
The Israel Broadcasting Authority, which chose the duo, said that they had made a professional decision to “express aspiration for coexistence, which transcends politics”.
Noa wrote an open letter to Palestinians in Gaza earlier this week, calling for an end to the “common enemy: fanaticism”.
“My country has made many, many mistakes over the years, I have watched it miss so many opportunities, and as a citizen of this country I am the first to admit it and criticize its foolery,” she wrote.
“I demonstrate, I vote, I speak out, I sing loud and clear. But, now, today, I know that deep in your hearts you wish for the demise of this beast called Hamas who has terrorised and murdered you, who has turned Gaza into a trash heap of poverty, disease and misery – who in the name of ‘Allah’ has sacrificed you on the bloody alter of pride and greed”.
Awad and Noa have previously appeared together in a peace-oriented broadcast of “We can work it out,” on YouTube.
Although geographically not in Europe, Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1973. Israel has won the contest in 1978, 1980, and in 1998 when Dana International became the first transsexual to win the competition.