In the run up to Eurovision 2019, Iceland’s Hatari were pretty blunt about their support for Palestine and their discomfort performing in Israel. Ahead of the show they’d suggested they would spark controversy in a big way, even issuing a statement on the matter. “[We] don’t think there will be a Palestinian flag on stage,” they said. While one could claim they ultimately kept their promise, the band did break the EBU’s no-politics rule. And that was before the cameras even went live.

The Palestinian flag incident

As we already know, the Icelandic act couldn’t help but show their solidarity with the Palestinian nation during the Eurovision voting segment. They did that by waving a banner with the Palestinian flag in the green room during the televoting procedure.

Today RÚV has announced that the EBU has decided to fine them. The Icelandic broadcaster will pay 5,000 euros, which, to many, won’t seem particularly punitive. Even so, RÚV has objected to the EBU’s penalty, saying they are “dissatisfied with the handling of the case and the proposed outcome.”

The broadcaster stated that they had taken all possible measures to avoid breaking the EBU’s rules, hinting that Hatari’s actions were their own responsibility.

The aftermath

RÚV also stressed that the participating broadcaster can never completely prevent artists from saying or doing anything that might contradict the rules of the competition. They are, after all, independent performers.

Despite the drama, RÚV is still proud of Iceland’s contribution to the competition this year. Hatari eventually finished 10th on the night — the country’s best result in a decade. “Hatari were impressive and attracted a lot of attention”, the statement said.

After the contest in Tel Aviv, some fans worried that the EBU might ban Iceland from participating in the 2020 edition. But not to worry: RÚV claim that is no longer an option. Iceland has already confirmed their participation, and song submissions are now open.

What do you think of this solution? Were officials too strict? Too lenient? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more Iceland Eurovision news here

Comments on this post are now closed.

90 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Uw Frigo
Uw Frigo
1 year ago

Echt zot

Ron
Ron
1 year ago

It’s ironic reading the comments here people complaining how unfair this is because when you pull up the article about Iveta raising the flag of Negorno Karabagh everyone was screaming that Armenia has to be banned. It’s even more ironic that the flag of Palestine was intended to offend the host broadcaster and the host nation whereas most people didn’t even notice the NK flag.

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 year ago

I think Iceland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia, Serbia, Montenegro ,Romania,Georgia should be banned for 2020. All have various reasons such as jury cheating, buying votes, bad behaveior etc so bann all of them for 1 year and then start clean. Then start banning for 1 year again if someone break the rules.

Ron
Ron
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus

Yes, let’s ban all countries except for the ones you like.

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron

democratic countries i like

vox
vox
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus

You have no right to ban anyone. If anyone should be banned is someone who was a contest producer since 2016 and was acting in favor of his country. Does that ring a bell Christer?

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 year ago
Reply to  vox

maybe you should move to a country where you can hate swedes? i pray for you:)

Jack
Jack
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus

lol thats how fascism looks like, shall we rename it swedenvision or european melfest?

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 year ago
Reply to  Jack

Maybe you should move to North korea where everyone thinks a like? i pray for you:)

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus

Can’t you ban yourself from the internet instead?

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 year ago

Norh Korea would like you have you. There you can have only ONE opinion. You would be happy there:).

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus

You are confusing me with yourself. It’s you who only has the one opinion.

Rasmus
Rasmus
11 months ago

my opinion is not 100% serious. It was just an idea. I just like a fair ESC:) Politics in ESC is not fun anymore.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus

Romania? Are you a Laura Bretan or Bella Santiago stan?

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

haha no. i didnt even meant something bad. It was just an idea for a ESC new clean start. But again then the Sweden hate starts. I dont really like ESC fans. I wonder if the sweden hate will be every year. hope not…. in here it is A LOT

Bella
Bella
1 year ago

Double standards, as always (the Armenian broadcaster didn’t get any fine for the exact same meaningless incident). I’ve got to say, good job to Israel for managing to impose its political agenda on totally unrelated foreign institutions, as always.

Bella
Bella
1 year ago
Reply to  Bella

Starting a GoFundMe campaign to raise the €5k and pay back the Icelandic broadcaster (just for the symbolism of it). We’ll raise it in no time, and will even make enough to sponsor Hatari’s next trip to Palest. 😉

Ron
Ron
1 year ago
Reply to  Bella

Actually Armenia was punished. Neither EBU nor AMPTV published the amount of fine. But EBU’s selective restriction of flags (for instance you can raise the flag of Wales or Catalonia but not of Negorno-Karabagh or Palestine) is what’s the issue here.

Gil Dadia
Gil Dadia
1 year ago

This punishment is a joke, it wont prevent the next political act….

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  Gil Dadia

That’s the EBU’s intention.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

I don’t think so. You mean the EBU want people to be political? I would say it’s more a case of the EBU being absolutely toothless when it comes to enforcing their own rules.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Both situations to be honest.

Ana
Ana
1 year ago

Amm, RUV can now sue Hattari for a breach of contract and get their money back. Too bad it’s only 5k Euros.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
1 year ago

how much was azerBUYjan fined in 2013 for buying votes from half of europe, again ? i would’ve fined iceland a symbolic €1 lmao

Tusán
1 year ago

Well unfortunetaly it was never proven.

Ron
Ron
1 year ago

Trust me, Azerbaijan and EBU had a long standing under the table “agreement” since 2009. That’s why they were never punished for interrogating their citizens for voting for Armenia or yet worse for pulling the plug when Armenia’s song came on in 2009 and blacking their voting number.

TRENT
TRENT
1 year ago

€50 000 – who cares! It was worth every penny! The message that Hatari communicated suprpasses any fine! Hats off to these guys who spoke up for humanity!

Bella
Bella
1 year ago
Reply to  TRENT

It’s even less than that, €5.000 (not 50). It’s nothing, I bet it’s less than just the flights to fly the delegation from Iceland to Israel, lol… Still, it should have been 0.

Khazar
1 year ago

Then they should ban armenia. ?veta took fake flag against Azerbaijan

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 year ago

I was hoping for something more serious though, but ok
You can support the idea of the Palestinian state, but you’ve got to admit that it was bringing politics into the contest which is forbidden :\
Let’s hope for a more peaceful contest next year with no politics regarding The Netherlands or any other nation and lots of luck to Iceland to keep their score high

Ronald
Ronald
1 year ago

Shame for the contest and shame for the EBU. SHAME.

Marty Mc CU
Marty Mc CU
1 year ago

I don’t think RUV should have been fined at all. A written warning or a statement of dissatisfaction from the EBU would suffice laying out the terms of participation and the rules of participation. should be in line with preventing any political statements being made. It wasn’t a big deal in the first place. Have the EBU fined Madonna and Kan TV too ? For a similar stance? No they haven’t.

Tusán
1 year ago
Reply to  Marty Mc CU

Madonna’s message was about the desire that one day Israel and Palestine can exist next to each other in peace. Hatari’s message was ‘screw Israel, we’re with Palestine’. Surely you can understand why it was so disrespectful to Israel who hosted the contest. I mean when you’re a guest in someone else’s home you won’t disrespect them by sh.tting in the middle of the living room either. Tho I do think giving them a fine won’t solve anything, EBu should’ve asked RUV to write an apologetic open letter to KAN and EBU should’ve reprimanded them openly too.

JOWST NE
JOWST NE
1 year ago

Oh please, 5,000€ is nothing, an average cost of a nice holiday somewhere!

Hatari did their manifesto and exposed the relentless scams of the apartheid state of Israel and its whitewashing!

Hatari, you’re our saviours!

Gil Dadia
Gil Dadia
11 months ago
Reply to  JOWST NE

Like you know anything about the conflict..israel is the only good thing in the middle east…instead of supporting this country uneducated haters like you say nonesense

Jan Jan
Jan Jan
1 year ago

Should’ve been 50.000 €uries!!!! (and disqualification for the next 500 contests).

JOWST NE
JOWST NE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jan Jan

DQ from the next 500 contests? A bit much I’d say!

ADd
ADd
1 year ago
Reply to  JOWST NE

Because there’s a guarantee that there’ll be 500 more contests.

Bella
Bella
1 year ago
Reply to  Jan Jan

Yeah, right. Let’s also publicly shame them, seize their property, put their kids in jail and freeze all their assets, all that for showing a flag on TV for 5 seconds. Overreacting much?

elpa
elpa
1 year ago

I also think that they should have got more significant punishment. What annoying me in what they do is that they metaphorically punch in the face of every Israeli after raising their sworn enemy flag. When the Israelis host the band magnifically to show them that not everything they read on the media is right. To explain that I would like to ask everyone from the Netherlands, especially those who will work in the production. How do you feel if one of the participant next year will insult your country or the citizens of your country, mainly after you help… Read more »

elpa
elpa
1 year ago
Reply to  elpa

a better way to show that:
imagine that one of the people in the green room show a banner that tells “x should conquer this (curse) country and all the people who live here are (curse)”
Does someone think the media and public in Nederland won’t be furious and call the EBU to ban this country?

Bella
Bella
1 year ago
Reply to  elpa

They insulted no one, they showed their support for an oppressed people. It’s criticism of Israel’s foreign policy, not a personal insult to any citizen.

If you feel insulted by that, you’re just projecting your own political agenda to this non-event… Which is your problem, not Hatari’s, and certainly not that of “every Israeli”. I have a lot of Jewish or even Israeli friends here in the US, a lot of them are sympathetic to the Palest cause.

Irrealaerri
Irrealaerri
1 year ago

They are 5000€ closer to bankrupting the Icelandic economy and destroying capitalism! Everything is according to schedule.

Kosey
Kosey
1 year ago

The 5000 EUR was definitely worth it – well done Hatari – you are Eurovision legends

Gil Dadia
Gil Dadia
11 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

You like terrorists i see…israel is the country to be proud of in the middle east…you are confused or just uneducated

Kosey
Kosey
11 months ago
Reply to  Gil Dadia

Look, I don’t profess to understand what’s going on in the Middle East. My objection is to the vitriol that an intelligent, thought-provoking act received from a supposedly friendly, modern country. Israel should take a long hard look at Iceland, and then you’ll see where you are going wrong.

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago

Ridiculous! Poor RÚV… It is not the broadcaster’s fault, if the artists don’t know how to behave politely on the international carpet…

Maya G
Maya G
1 year ago
Reply to  ESCFan2009

Well, this should teach broadcasters to sign a binding contract with their representatives stating that if they deliberately break an EBU rule then they will have to personally face any financial consequences. Especially with representatives so prone to provocation.
Obviously the EBU has no authority over individual singers or band, they can only enforce fines on broadcasters.

NickC
NickC
1 year ago

Completely stupid. Nikki and Serhat waved Turkish flag, many artists waved rainbow flag. Gay people exist, [email protected] people exist and trying to suppress their existence with fascist police state reinforcements will not change anything. Let people use Eurovision to freely express their opinion as long as it is not hate speech. I would have supported the punishment if Hatari was suggesting some anti Semitic propoganda. They simply showed their sympathy to a group of suffering people. The moment we develop some emphaty towards all persecuted people, whether it is LGBT, women, Jewish Arab or gay then this site as well… Read more »

NickC
NickC
1 year ago

Completely stupid. Nikki and Serhat waved Turkish flag, many artists waved rainbow flag. Gay people exist, Palestinian people exist and trying to suppress their existence with fascist police state reinforcements will not change anything. Let people use Eurovision to freely express their opinion as long as it is not hate speech. I would have supported the punishment if Hatari was suggesting some anti Semitic propoganda. They simply showed their sympathy to a group of suffering people. The moment we develop some emphaty towards all persecuted people, whether it is LGBT, women, Jewish or gay then this site as well as… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 year ago

What about Madonna? She should have gotten a penalty for her performance, let alone the political aspect. Why hurt Hatari, but not Madonna? Can someone explain this, please?

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

How come Azerbaijan and Armenia are allowed to politicise the event year after year? Have they ever, in all their years of competing, given each other a point?

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Were Azerbaijan punished that time they police-interrogated their own citizens who dared to televote for Armenia?

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

It’s the same even with the Junior contest! Won’t anybody think of the children?

Larry
Larry
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

In 2009 they exchanged ONE point

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry

That must have been a computer glitch.

TheDrMistery
TheDrMistery
1 year ago
Reply to  Larry

Azerbaijan never gave any points to Armenia.

Armenia gave 1 point to Azerbaijan in 2009.

Ron
Ron
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

In fact yes! In 2008 Armenia gave 2 points in SF to Azerbaijan and gave 1 point in the final of 2009 to Azerbaijan. And this year, Armenian public placed Chingiz 11th

Icel
Icel
1 year ago

I don’t RUV is responssible for this. Hatari are. They should’ve paid it.

Trash KAN
Trash KAN
1 year ago

Still a petty penalty. EBU is only doing this for formality.

Sally
Sally
1 year ago

They should be fining Hatari – and a lot more than a measly 5000 Euros.

James
James
1 year ago
Reply to  Sally

How much is five thousand euros in US dollars?

James
James
1 year ago
Reply to  James

That actually sounds hefty, at least if I was a public broadcaster.

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

5000 euro is nothing…stop complaining..

Sal
Sal
1 year ago

Good but should have been more. I hope RUV send white saviours Hatari the invoice.

Jorge
Jorge
1 year ago

Congrats, EBU. You just put an absurdly low price tag on politicizing your contest.

Azaad
Azaad
1 year ago

It’s a small fine but still they shouldn’t have to pay in the first place. Given how contentious the idea of hosting in Israel was it was inevitable that a Palestinian flag would get woven somewhere. Moreover Hatari were just reiterating what Icelandic foreign policy is. Wonder how much. Armenia were charged over Iveta’s flag in 2016?

Tigg
Tigg
1 year ago

Where’s Madonna’s fine?

KESC
KESC
1 year ago

Ridiculous and no it’s not justified!!

Soda vomitstream
Soda vomitstream
1 year ago

Guys should i start a go fundme for them? Us soda dreamers should stick together in these heartless times!

Filastin huratan , free the country <3

Tajikistan
Tajikistan
1 year ago

No

Soda vomitstream
Soda vomitstream
1 year ago

This is inhumane, i’m holding in my tears so hard right now 🙁 🙁

Azuro
Azuro
1 year ago

EBU is spineless. Should have been £500,000 at least.
Even for a tiny country like Iceland, the broadcaster has millions

James
James
1 year ago
Reply to  Azuro

Budgets for public broadcast are highly dependent on finding sources from their national government or through taxes, depending on the country. So money has always been tight and had to be spent accordingly.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
1 year ago

So they only got a 5000 euro fine and they still be complaining?

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

As they should. A cent is too much.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
1 year ago

Ah well , it could have costed them their lifes you know. Only thing they needed to do is cross the border and switch that flag into a rainbow banner.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

lol yeah, that’s totally the same thing. They were so close to dying in that greenroom. All they had to was run out of there, head over to Palestine with a rainbow banner. They literally escaped death in the last second there.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

lol yeah, that’s totally the same thing. They were so close to dying in that greenroom. All they had to do was run out of there, head over across the boarder. with a rainbow banner. They literally escaped death in the last second there.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

Yeah, this fun argument of “try being gay and quirky in Palestine” falls flat when you remember they made a single with a queer Palestinian pop star (during Eurovision season) and filmed the video in Palestine, doesn’t it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy84LnL_ghA

Funkycoffin
Funkycoffin
1 year ago

How much did Madonna had to pay?

me enjaja
me enjaja
1 year ago

It took the EBU months to come up with a €5000 fine. Not surprised that the EBU is spineless – if they didn’t do anything when Matthías said “the a*******d was clear”, they weren’t going to do anything too bad now imo.

James
James
1 year ago
Reply to  me enjaja

Or probably just months ago when the EBU had their periodic meetings with its members and only now did we get info about it.

esc stan
esc stan
1 year ago
Reply to  James

Four months is four months.

123
123
1 year ago

And they are objecting to this pathetic punishment? They are so entitled and obnoxious and should be happy they weren’t banned….

Joshua
Joshua
1 year ago

How to fine a country without any sensible reason- Tutorial by the EBU.

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
1 year ago

That’s far too lenient. Should have been further consequences

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Joseph Mendy

Like what? Disqualifying the most peaceful and democratic country on earth while keeping shady quasi dictatorships in the game? Doesn’t seem very Eurovision-y somehow. Maybe EBU-y, though.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago

It goes to show how ridiculous the EBU is. Basically, broadcasters and artists can do anything, the EBU is toothless and spineless. They’ll just demand 2000-5000 euros for incidents that should not be fined in the first place and give a pass to all the real infractions. Where’s Madonna’s fine for the very same thing? Where’s the fine for whoever screwed up the voting?

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago

The power play between Ukraine and Russia in 2017 was far more interesting than this little banner, btw. What a boring thing to turn into a scandal. Had there not been such loud booing, I wouldn’t even have noticed it. I honestly got so bored with their act of looking bored/emotionless towards the end.