Eurovision boycott claims over Israel’s involvement | Ents & Arts News


Icelandic musicians have demanded that the country boycott the Eurovision Song Contest unless Israel is banned from participating.

The Association of Composers and Lyricists in Iceland (FTT), which represents artists in the country, says it wants the country’s national broadcaster RUV to stop its participation in the show if Israel remains in the competition.

It echoes similar calls from 2022, when many nations demanded Russia be banned over its invasion of Ukraine.

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Hamas killed 1,200 people and kidnapped hundreds more in cross-border attacks on October 7, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel has since killed more than 18,800 Palestinians, 70% of whom were women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

The FTT said: “We all have a duty to take a stand against war and the killing of civilians and innocent children.

“We always have the choice not to put our name on such things, regardless of whether we are individuals or government institutions.

“We owe it to the nations that deal with military force not to share with them in an event that is always characterized by joy and optimism.”

The RUV told Sky News that a demonstration was due to take place outside its offices on Monday afternoon over the issue.

Iceland has enjoyed relative success in the competition in recent years and many have suggested that the country’s Dadi Freyr would have won the 2020 competition had it not been cancelled. He finished fourth the following year.

A Palestinian child looks at the scene of an Israeli attack on a house, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 17, 2023. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Image:
A Palestinian child in the Gaza Strip, where at least 18,800 people have been killed in Israeli strikes, according to the Hamas-run health ministry

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Pro-Palestinian activists and groups have also called for a boycott, while Ireland’s RTE is also reported to have received hundreds of emails asking it to boycott next year’s competition.

Israel came third in the 2023 competition with Noa Kriel’s dance-pop tune Unicorn. Kriel had previously served as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces.

Russia was ultimately excluded from the competitionwith Ukraine winning later that year with the Kalush Orchestra, leading to the 2023 edition to be held in Liverpool.

Sky News has contacted the European Broadcast Union (EBU), the show’s organisers, along with Israeli public broadcaster Kan, for comment.

The EBU, an alliance of public service broadcasters, said in a statement to Irish online newspaper The Journal: “It is a competition for broadcasters – not governments – and the Israeli public broadcaster has been participating in the competition for 50 years .

“The EBU is in line with other international organizations that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time.”

Both Iceland and Israel have confirmed their participation in next year’s competition in Sweden, but have not selected entries.

The BBC revealed on Saturday that Olly Alexander of pop band Years and Years will represent Great Britain at next year’s competition.

Great Britain, represented by Mae Muller, came second last in the 2023 competition in Liverpool, with Sweden’s Loreen wins for the second time.


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