Any illusion that the road to Eurovision 2019 would be free from controversy and drama came to an abrupt halt just moments after Netta Barzilai secured victory. That’s because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time announcing that the country intended to host in Jerusalem — a city whose status is controversial politically and in diplomatic practice.
And now — following unprecedented violence in Gaza and growing calls for countries to boycott Eurovision 2019 — Channel 10 claims that Israel’s right to host the contest could very well be taken away.
The Times of Israel reports that the during recent meetings with the EBU, officials from Geneva expressed concern that hosting in Jerusalem will lead several countries to boycott Eurovision next year. As the paper writes matter-of-factly: “Israel’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem next year is in doubt”.
This follows the earlier news, reported by Haaretz, that members of the EBU were concerned about Israeli ministers politicising the event.
Sourced told the newspaper that they “did not care” for statements made by Ministers Miri Regev and Ayoub Kara about hosting and producing the contest in Jerusalem.
The source said: “The decisions made by Regev and Kara before even hearing anything about hosting the Eurovision are not deemed customary in the eyes of the Union’s officials.”
Both politicians demanded that their ministries be allowed to produce the contest, with the later claiming he would invite Dubai to compete. He would not, of course, have the authority to do that.
Calls to boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel
As we previously reported, more than 25,000 people in Iceland have signed a petition calling for broadcaster RUV to pull out of the contest in light of “human rights abuses of Israel against the Palestinian people.”
That follows a call from the Lord Mayor of Dublin asking Ireland’s RTE to stay home as well.
Mac Donncha, a Sinn Fein politician with close ties to Palestine, made the comment in an interview with Dublin Live.
He said: “I would support [a boycott]…I don’t think we should send a representative.”
Mac Doncha isn’t the only Irish politican in support of a boycott. MEPs Lynn Boylan and Nessa Childers have both shared their support on social media.
And the calls for a boycott keep spreading.
The Left Party of Sweden has issued a strongly worded statement citing “the illegal occupation” that has “been condemned by the United Nations and Amnesty” and the fact that “thousands of Palestinians have been killed and millions have been forced to flee over the years.”
“It is unreasonable for Israel to host this gigantic music contest while the occupation is in progress,” they write.
Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU) / Insets via wikimedia
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