The reason why Israel does participate in the Eurovision Song Contest and Russia does not

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place this Saturday, May 11, in Malmö, Sweden.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
11 May 2024 Saturday 05:31
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The reason why Israel does participate in the Eurovision Song Contest and Russia does not

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place this Saturday, May 11, in Malmö, Sweden. 26 countries will participate, including members of the Big Five (Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom), as well as Sweden, this year's host country, and the 20 candidates selected from this week's qualifying rounds.

However, all the controversies point towards one country: Israel. Following the Hamas attack on October 7 and the Israeli army's response in Gaza, which has caused 34,800 deaths and more than 78,200 injuries in just seven months, several organizations have called on the EBU to expel Israel from Eurovision for alleged "crimes." of war".

At the Israeli representative's rehearsals, there has been a series of boos from the audience, while activists, institutions and followers of the festival have pressured the organizers to exclude Israel due to its conflict with Palestine.

Despite this, Israel is among the favorites and is currently in second place with the major bookmakers, despite its war situation with Palestine since last October.

There were those who demanded that Israel receive the same treatment as Russia in 2022, when the festival vetoed its participation due to the invasion of Ukraine. This exclusion, which remains in force two years later, was also extended to Belarus due to “attacks on press freedom in the country.”

The key differences in the EBU's actions with respect to Russia and Israel relate to political relations, the financing of the competition and the principles of public television in both countries.

According to the EBU, the relationship between KAN, the state-owned Israeli television, and the Netanyahu government differs from the relationship between Russian television and the Russian state. The EBU suspended Russia due to the violation of the values ​​that every public service must uphold.

He considers that Russian public television stations did not fulfill their obligations as members of the state and repeatedly violated the values ​​expected of a media outlet.

To make matters worse, since 2019 the main sponsor of the festival is Moroccanoil, a renowned cosmetics brand founded in Israel in 2007. Its economic investment is so significant that in some places its logo is as prominent as that of the festival itself.