Iceland Leads Calls to Bar Israel from Eurovision 2024

Hatari

Calls for Israel’s exclusion from the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest have emerged,  from Icelandic musicians and organisations.

The Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT) has been vocal in urging their national broadcaster, RÚV, to withdraw from the contest if Israel remains a participant.

In a statement addressed to RÚV General Director Stefán Eiríksson on Monday, FTT’s board “calls on RÚV not to participate in Eurovision in 2024 unless Israel is denied participation in the competition on the same grounds as Russia in the last competition.”

Take a stand against war

“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 to such things, whether we are individuals or state institutions,” it continues. “We owe it to those nations that act with force through military might not to share the stage in an event that is always characterized by joy and optimism.”

500 emails to RTÉ

Art the same time, in Ireland, the national broadcaster RTÉ has received around 500 emails urging it to boycott the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest due to Israel’s involvement. These emails highlight the parallel between the exclusion of Russia in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine and the current situation with Israel. The campaigners argue that allowing Israel to participate in the contest undermines the spirit of the Eurovision Song Contest as a platform for unity and peace. They assert that Israel’s involvement brings the entire competition into disrepute, citing concerns over ongoing human rights abuses and breaches of international law by the Israeli government in Palestine.

A competition for broadcasters and not governments

Despite these calls for a boycott, as of now, there is no indication that any of the participating national broadcasters, including RTÉ, are planning to withdraw from the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest.

In 2019, Iceland’s group Hatari (pictured) brandished scarves with Palestinian flags when the final results were being announced at the end of the event, which was held in Tel Aviv. Earlier in the show, two of interval act Madonna’s backing dancers in the final moments of her performance walked together, one with an Israeli flag stitched on to their back, the other with that of Palestine.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the Eurovision Song Contest, has described the event as a competition for broadcasters and not governments, emphasizing its non-political nature. In September 2019, The EBU fined Icelandic broadcaster EUR 5k, over the Hatari flag incident.

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