Eurovision Co-Host Addresses Calls for Boycott of Show in Israel, Says ‘Leave Politics to Politicians’
Assi Azar, co-host of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, spoke out against activists calling for the cultural boycott of the singing competition, which will take place in Tel Aviv in May.
The Israeli television host told the UK’s Metro on Tuesday, “I don’t want to give any room to people that want to ban something that’s all about music. Leave the politics to the politicians.”
He added, ‘The only way to create peace and love is by communicating, through meeting and talking — not through banning. The people who want to celebrate hate, Eurovision is not the place for them.”
Azar called the contest a “true democracy” and also mentioned last year’s winner, Israeli singer Netta Barzalai, recalling, “Netta said last year when she won, ‘Thank you for choosing different, thank you for diversity.’ It’s a place for every person who wants to feel loved, regardless of color, weight, looks — Eurovision accepts everyone.”
Azar co-hosted the Israeli television program and singing contest “Rising Star,” whose winner, Kobi Marimi, will represent Israel in Eurovision. He is hosting the competition alongside Israeli model Bar Refaeli, Israeli Arab television presenter and radio host Lucy Ayoub and Israeli television presenter Erez Tal.
The Eurovision Song Contest takes place May 14-18.