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May 7, 2019 4:12 pm

Minister Denies Israel Seeking to Deny Entry to Activists During Eurovision Song Contest

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Laborers work on the construction of the stage and setting where this year’s Eurovision Song Contest shows will be hosted at the Expo Tel Aviv, Israel, April 15, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

Israel’s Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan denied a report in The Guardian newspaper that Israel was seeking to block pro-Palestinian activists from entering the country during the Eurovision song contest.

“Another Guardian lie,” Erdan tweeted in Hebrew.

The Guardian reported that Israel was concerned about efforts to disrupt the competition, which will be held in Tel Aviv later this month. Israel earned the right to host the competition when singer Netta Barzilai won last year’s contest with her song “Toy.” Thousands of tourists and fans are expected to visit Israel for the event.

The anti-Israel BDS movement has been pushing hard for artists to boycott the event. Thus far, none of the planned acts have canceled, and Barzilai herself denounced the efforts, saying, “This is a festival of light. For people to boycott light is spreading darkness.”

The Guardian quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon on Israel’s policy toward disruptive foreign activists.

“This is going to be a huge party in which thousands of people will participate but we will remain extremely vigilant in order to make sure that no one comes here in order to disturb and destroy,” Nahshon said.

“We don’t want to prohibit the entry to the State of Israel for people,” he added. “But on the other hand, if we know for certain that we will be facing people who are anti-Israel activists and whose sole purpose is to disturb the event then we will use the legal instruments that we have regarding the entry to Israel.”

Nahshon specified that only those who broke Israeli law would be denied entry.

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