BDS-backed Twitter bot network targeting Eurovision in Israel

Israel said it had uncovered a network of bots and fake Twitter accounts urging a boycott of the upcoming Israeli-hosted Eurovision song contest.

The Strategic Affairs Ministry said the Palestinian-led movement that promotes boycotts against Israel is behind the effort.

Twitter confirmed it suspended “a small network of accounts” in response to the Israeli complaint.

Supporters of the BDS movement, a Palestinian-led campaign advocating boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, have been calling on artists to pull out of this year’s contest because of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

Iceland’s representative has said it would be “absurd” to participate, and boycott activists recently renewed their call for the country to withdraw completely from the event.

Singer Netta Barzilai’s win last year with the catchy pop anthem “Toy” earned Israel the honour of hosting the 2019 Eurovision competition.

Israel boasts one of the Eurovision’s most rabid fan bases. Fans flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in front of City Hall, with some euphorically jumping into a public fountain, after Barzilai was announced the winner last year in Portugal.

The City Hall building was lit up to spell “Toy” and electronic signs throughout the city congratulated her.

Earlier, Twitter launched a special Eurovision emoji and hashtag to celebrate the song contest.

 

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