Israel should be excluded from Eurovision 2024: European politicians | News of the Israeli war on Gaza

Eurovision Song Contest organizers are under increasing pressure to exclude Israel from this year’s competition in light of its war on Gaza.

More than 20 politicians wrote to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Tuesday, saying Israel’s participation in the contest “whitewashes a regime that is ethnically cleansing Palestine and committing war crimes and genocide.”

Members of the European Parliament and politicians from the Spanish left-wing Podemos party were among the signatories of the letter seen by Al Jazeera.

The annual competition is scheduled to be held next May at Malmo Stadium in Sweden, after Swedish singer Lauren won last year.

The politicians behind the letter acknowledged that the European Broadcasting Union, a group of public media organisations, wants Eurovision to remain a non-political event.

“However, the Eurovision Song Contest vetoed Russia’s participation in the contest from 2022 in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Also in 2019, Iceland was fined by festival organizers because an Icelandic contestant displayed the Palestinian flag at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.” .

They added that “Israel’s participation clearly contradicts what the EBU claims to stand for, as it presents misleading information about Israel and conceals its genocidal behaviour.”

TThirty-seven countries will participate this year.

Israel became the first non-European country to participate in 1973 and hosted its popular culture event Tel Aviv in 2019. Entry into the competition is open to all EBU members.

Along with European politicians, musicians in Sweden, artists in Finland and protesters in Norway and Ireland sent letters to the European Broadcasting Union urging public broadcasters to exclude Israel from the competition.

Meanwhile, Iceland is reconsidering its participation if Israel is allowed to compete this year.

At the time of publication, the European Broadcasting Union had not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.

“Boycott Eurovision”

Eurovision, which began in 1956, is an international music pageant watched and adored by millions of viewers.

But this year, some fans said they would join the protests against Israel by boycotting the competition and turning off their screens if allowed to participate.

“I’m a big fan of Eurovision. It should just be a bit of fun, but we all know there are geopolitical games at play behind all the glitz and glamour,” Ciara Green, a Belgium-based fan, told Al Jazeera. The day after the Russian invasion For Ukraine, she was rightfully excluded from the song contest. Allowing Israel to participate contributes to Israeli exceptionalism and normalizes the state’s genocidal policies.”

In Sweden, home of 1974 Eurovision winner ABBA, famous musicians like Robyn also signed a letter criticizing the contest’s alleged double standards.

“It’s hard not to be political with music,” said Ida, a 33-year-old student in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. “If Israel participates, I think most of them will not vote for them and declare their dissatisfaction.”

Israel reportedly plans to announce its entry on Tuesday.

Brian Donnelly, a human rights activist in Ireland, has organized a campaign aimed at pressuring RTE, Ireland’s representative broadcaster in the Eurovision Song Contest, to urge the European Broadcasting Union to exclude Israel.

“We heard that this strategy worked when Russia invaded Ukraine, but in our case, we have yet to receive a response from RTE,” Donnelly told Al Jazeera. “If Israel participates, it will help in their PR campaign to normalize what they are doing to the Palestinian people.”

Claire Charles, a marketing director from France, said Israel’s inclusion on the list is a sign of “Western hypocrisy.”

“All these public institutions are useless. Western governments are useless. Killing, occupation, war and genocide are still happening,” she told Al Jazeera.

“Russia’s exclusion last time reveals the blatant racism of not excluding Israel this year.”

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