STAR singer and actor Olly Alexander has been slammed by the Conservative Party, the Israeli embassy, and a Jewish charity, with calls for him to be stripped of the UK’s 2024 Eurovision role for signing a charity letter accusing the Middle East state of “genocide” in Gaza and being an “apartheid state”.   

Years and Years singer Olly, who grew up in Coleford, announced on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing final that he would be our Eurovision singer for May’s competition in Sweden.

It later emerged that he had previously signed a statement criticising Israel, which didn’t mention the Hamas attack that killed 1,200 Israelis.

A Campaign Against Antisemitism spokesperson said: “The rhetoric in this letter, which is seemingly endorsed by Olly Alexander, is extreme.

“It is appalling in particular that it condemns ‘unthinking philosemitism’. At a time when nearly seven in 10 British Jews feel afraid to express their identity in public, this must not be the person to represent our country at the Eurovision Song Contest.The BBC can and must right this wrong.”

A Conservative Party source also took aim at the BBC, telling The Daily Telegraph: “Letting an openly anti-Israel singer compete on the same stage as Israel is either a massive oversight or sheer brass neck from the BBC. After they refused to call Hamas a terrorist organisation, you would think BBC bosses would try to steer clear of causing any more diplomatic blunders.”

The Voices4London LGBTQ+ group’s letter also accused Israel of ‘pinkwashing’ and attacked its record on gay rights.

Addressing that, the Israeli Embassy in London posted: “Clearly, Olly Alexander graduated from the Middle Eastern School of TikTok. We would be happy to arrange a trip for you to visit the Oct 7 massacre sites in Israel, where the rights of LGBTQ+ [people] are celebrated, protected and cherished. Unfortunately, our neighbours can’t guarantee the same.”

But while the former Monmouth Comprehensive School pupil, 33, has been slammed for signing the letter prior to his being declared the UK’s Eurovision singer, others have called for Israel to be kicked out of the competition alongside already banned Russia.

A petition has been launched in host nation Sweden calling for Israel’s exclusion, while Iceland’s Association of Composers and Lyricists have backed calls for their omission. The latter said Israel should be disqualified because the contest is supposed to be the space of “joy and optimism”, not “military force”.

Reports from Gaza currently put the death toll since the Israeli Defence Force invasion at 20,000 Palestinians, with 70 per cent of them allegedly women and children.    

The open letter signed by the Years and Years chart topper and It’s a Sin gay icon two weeks after the Hamas attack said: “We are watching a genocide take place in real time. Death overflows from our phone screens and into our hearts...

“We cannot sit idly by while the Israeli Government continues to wipe out entire lineages of Palestinian families. We once said, ‘silence equals death’. Now is not the time to be silent.

“We cannot untangle these recent tragedies from a violent history of occupation. Current events simply are an escalation of the state of Israel’s apartheid regime, which acts to ethnically cleanse the land.

“Since the violent creation of the state 75 years ago, the Israeli military and Israeli settlers have continued to terrorise Palestinian people...

And the group added: “We strongly reject the argument that holding a pro-Palestine or anti-zionist stance in any way promotes anti-semitism.

“We stand against any and all harassment and discrimination against Jewish communities.

“For the many queer and anti-zionist Jewish individuals invested in liberation, this unthinking philosemitism, which hesitates to criticise an ongoing genocide out of fear of being seen to criticise Jewish people, is simply the other face of antisemitism.”

The BBC has indicated that it will not be pursuing any action over the complaints, as Alexander signed the letter weeks before he was announced as the UK’s Eurovision candidate.

Ironically, Eurovision seeks to avoid politics, using slogans such as “Building Bridges”, “Under The Same Sky”, “We Are One”, and “Celebrate Diversity”.