Several Arab artists and intellectuals, both Israeli and Palestinian, sent an open letter to Israeli-Arab actress and singer Mira Awad, asking her not to represent the State in this year's Eurovision Song Contest with Israeli artist Noa on May 16 in Moscow.
The petition, that was first published on Ynet, was signed by singer and actress Amal Murkus, actor and director Juliano Mer-Khamis, actor and director Mohammad Bakri, actor Saleh Bakri, director Nizar Hassan, actress Salwa Naqqara, publisher Yael Lerer, actress Hanan Hilou, actor Amer Hlehel, comedian Ayman Nahhas, radio presenter Makbula Nassar, and playwright and journalist Ala Hlehel to name a few.
In the politically charged letter, the signatories urged Awad to reconsider her decision. "Take back your agreement to represent the State of Israel in the Eurovision contest with Achinoam Nini," they wrote.
"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."
"Israel's image as a 'democratic', 'enlightened' and 'peace loving' state is what allows the international community to support it. Your participation in the Eurovision is participation in the Israeli propaganda machine.
"Every brick in the wall of this phony image allows the Israeli army to throw 10 more tons of explosives and more phosphorus bombs. We are sure that you also see these images and cry."
"Israeli artists, authors and intellectuals that take part in this propaganda machine, instead of working for justice, equality and the upholding of human and civil rights – not to mention international law – are also partners to the crime. Please Mira, for the children of Gaza and for the future of every child in this land – Arabs and Jews – don't be an accomplice to the killing machine."
'Mira, Noa under pressure from left and right'Awad was not available for comment, but her manager, Ofer Pesenzon, who also manages Achinoam Nini's business affairs, told Ynet, "Anyone who called the collaboration between Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad 'part of a false propaganda machine' can live with their hatred to the world.
"We will keep working towards dialogue between the two peoples in hopes that it will one day lead to peace. 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.
"We have no intention of getting into conflicts or arguments. We will keep doing what we believe in. And we will do this in spite of the great pressure we are under from both the extreme right and the extreme left."
The Israel Broadcasting Authority said in response, "The Eurovision contest is not, and never has been, a political event, but is an event that is meant to create musical dialogue between the countries that participate in it.
"The committee's decision is a professional one, that also expresses a vision of optimism and the aspiration for coexistence beyond politics. These are two very talented singers with international reputations. We welcome the decision and stand behind Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad and are convinced the results will speak for themselves."