The Jewish Leadership Council has condemned a “sad” protest against Israeli Eurovision winner Netta performing at a London nightclub.
Activists from the London Palestine Action (LPA) group are to picket the entrance of Heaven on Wednesday night claiming the singer acts “as a cultural ambassador for Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid”.
In a statement on their Facebook page, LPA is asking demonstrators to arrive at the “LGBT venue” for what is described as “a queer-led protest but allies are welcome & encouraged to join.”
The group says: “Come show solidarity with Palestinians. Those in Gaza are currently facing the deadliest violence Israel has inflicted since since 2014.
“Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai acts as a cultural ambassador for Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid.”
They also try to justify boycotting Netta’s performances because she meets the criteria set up by the Boycott, Divestment and Sactions (BDS) movement.
“If an individual is representing the state of Israel or recruited for Israel’s rebranding efforts, then their activities are subject to the institutional boycott called for by Palestinians,” the criteria say.
Another group – the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – wrote on Twitter: “Palestinian queers urge boycott of Netta Barzilai’s shows.
“Don’t party with Barzilai as she pink washes Israeli snipers killing Palestinians in Gaza, or Israel’s right-wing leaders around the world.”
But in statement, the JLC said: “Netta proudly represented Israel at Eurovision this year and has acquired a huge and supportive fan base since her success.
“It is sad that this demonstration by pro-BDS activists will attempt to undermine her performance because of where she is from.”
Jewish Labour Movement vice-chair Mike Katz described the protest as “very worrying”.
Stratford and New Town Labour councillor Joshua Garfield tweeted: ”A lot of BDS campaigns end up demonising the wrong people. Like honey, your antisemitism is showing.”
He added: “People I admire and have often looked up to are promoting/supporting a terribly problematic event at Heaven tonight that suggests Netta Barzilaii is as guilty as Netanyahu regarding Israeli State policy just because she is from Israel.”
Speaking to the JC in June, when her Eurovision win triggered questions over whether the competition should be held in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, Netta said: “Boycotting, hate and revenge won’t lead to anything. It leads nowhere. Talking, speaking and communicating leads somewhere.
“Boycotting doesn’t help. That’s it.”