Australia's Eurovision pick responds to Roger Waters' call for Israel boycott
Australia’s Eurovision contestant has defended her decision to compete in this year’s competition in Israel after Roger Waters called on her to boycott the event.
Classically trained Kate Miller-Heidke said she respected the former Pink Floyd star’s view but thought avoiding the show would do nothing to help secure peace between Israel and Palestine.
In a clip posted to the video sharing platform Vimeo last week Waters, a supporter of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, suggested her appearance would be used by the Israeli government to “whitewash” human rights abuses in Palestine.
Miller-Heidke, who is set to perform her song Zero Gravity at this year’s contest in Tel Aviv, promised to use her time in the country to speak to people from “different sides” of the debate.
She told the Press Association: “I absolutely respect his point of view.
“But for me, personally, the idea of completely blocking off an entire people, an entire country, from music, culture and learning…
“It’s not just art that they are trying to block but academia and stopping the free flow of learning and information into a country.
“I just can’t see how that is going to advance that part of the world towards solution.
“I have a lot to learn and I am looking forward to being there for two and a half weeks, and having the chance to meet Palestinians and people from different sides and deepen my learning and understanding.”
Miller-Heidke, who has worked with British artists including Passenger and Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows, added that she believed music could help solve the conflict.
She added: “I believe in the power of music and art to actually provoke discussion and inspire dialogue.
“It’s a complex issue but I have thought about it deeply.
“I respect the opinions of people who feel otherwise, I do, but this is my decision.”
The 37-year-old’s offering melds pop, folk and opera and was written after she emerged from a period of depression prompted by the birth of her son in 2016.
“Zero Gravity is about coming out of depression,” she said.
“It’s about transcending that and going from feeling very powerless to powerful again.
“I went through a period of depression after the birth of my son, Ernie, and it lasted for quite a while, a couple of years.
“But eventually the fog lifted.
“This song tries to catch the immense relief I felt when that happened.
“The joy I felt, of getting my life back.”
Miller-Heidke was selected after winning the Australia Decides programme ahead of acts such as Aboriginal electronic music duo Electric Fields and drag queen Courtney Act.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will begin in Tel Aviv on May 18.