Defying Roger Waters, Portugal's Conan Osiris arrives in Israel

With seven weeks to go, a steady stream of Eurovision contestants visit the Holy Land for filming.

Conan Osiris (photo credit: ROYAL JEWELRY/RTP)
Conan Osiris
(photo credit: ROYAL JEWELRY/RTP)
Ten days after Roger Waters appealed to him personally to boycott the upcoming Eurovision, Portugal’s Conan Osiris arrived in Israel to film a video clip for the competition.
Osiris, who is representing Portugal at this year’s song contest in Tel Aviv, hit the ground running on his first day in Israel. He met with Israeli contestant Kobi Marimi, began rehearsing for his “postcard” video for the competition and sat down with KAN for an interview on Tuesday.
“It’s what you see,” Osiris said when asked by KAN about Waters, rolling his eyes and heaving a deep sigh. “Everybody has their content, right?” That was the closest KAN got to an answer from Osiris on the topic of Waters, and the public campaign that the former Pink Floyd front man and obsessive BDS activist waged against him.
Earlier this month, Waters wrote a public letter to his millions of followers on social media, addressing Osiris and imploring him to boycott the Eurovision.
“I wrote and suggested to him that here he had an opportunity to speak up for life over death and also for human rights over human wrongs,” Waters wrote. “How? By standing shoulder to shoulder with his oppressed brothers and sisters in Palestine... by refraining from providing his art to art-wash Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian communities to expand and maintain its apartheid state.”
Waters noted that “Sadly, until now, there is no reply from Conan.”
Osiris – the stage name of Tiago Miranda – did not publicly respond to Waters.
But on Tuesday, Waters received his reply. Osiris landed in Israel for several days of filming, touring and enjoying the country before he returns in May to compete. On Wednesday, he began shooting his postcard clip at the Dead Sea, proving he has no intention whatsoever of boycotting the competition. He met up in Tel Aviv with the UK’s Michael Rice, who was also in the country for filming.
Waters’ appeal to Osiris vowed that “there are 42 [sic] finalists; among them we will find the one” who will pull out for political reasons. But with less than seven weeks until the Eurovision, the musician’s hopes that a contestant will boycott appear to be all but dashed. This week alone, In addition to Rice, contestants from Norway, Russia, Macedonia, Malta and Montenegro arrived in Israel for filming.
Over the past few weeks, delegations from the Czech Republic, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Cyprus, San Marino, Spain and Belgium have also landed in Tel Aviv. Not a single contestant has expressed an intent to boycott, even the controversial Icelandic group Hatari. The only country not returning to this year’s Eurovision is Ukraine, which pulled out for financial reasons.
Since Israel won the Eurovision in Portugal last year, Waters has been pushing for a boycott, calling first on the European Broadcasting Union to hold the competition elsewhere, then on the BBC to pull out of the contest, and more recently on individual contestants to cancel. But he has failed – so far – on every level.
Osiris’s arrival in Israel this week is yet another blow to Waters’ campaign.
With less than 50 days until the Eurovision kicks off, boycott concerns have given way to worries about security amid an escalation with Gaza. But both Eurovision organizers and contestants seem unfazed by the potential for rockets, and are moving full steam ahead with preparations for May.
“I’m not really a news guy,” Osiris said, when asked about security concerns. “I don’t even own a television at home.”