Eurovision: Petition to exclude Israel from Finnish, Icelandic musicians in support of Gaza

Citing "war crimes" in Gaza, more than 1,400 music industry professionals want to keep artistes out of the Europe-based musical event

With its motto "United by Music", this year's Eurovision will take place in the Swedish city of Malmö. Representative image shows the motto in a backdrop behind a stage surrounded by a cheering audience (photo: @Eurovision/X)
With its motto "United by Music", this year's Eurovision will take place in the Swedish city of Malmö. Representative image shows the motto in a backdrop behind a stage surrounded by a cheering audience (photo: @Eurovision/X)
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Over 1,400 Finnish music industry professionals have signed a petition urging the exclusion of Israel from the Eurovision Song Contest, citing alleged "war crimes" in Gaza, reports the BBC.

The signatories are demanding that if Israel is not banned from the competition, Finland's public broadcaster, Yle, should withdraw its own entry, added the report.

This move follows similar demands by Icelandic musicians, part of the growing debate surrounding the intersection of music and the politics of global conflicts.

The petition highlights the controversy surrounding Israel's participation in international sports and entertainment, with conflicting perspectives on its actions in Gaza and with respect to occupied Palestine and the West Bank in general.

The signatories from Finland argue that Israel should not be allowed to participate in Eurovision "to polish its image" and insisted that public broadcaster Yle should uphold consistent standards as it did in the case of Russia's exclusion from the 2022 contest, per the BBC report.

'Double standards' allegations

The Finnish artists accuse Yle of applying "double standards" in advocating for a ban on Russia but not taking a similar stance against Israel, the BBC reports.

Last year, Yle, among other European broadcasters, demanded the exclusion of Russia from Eurovision following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The petitioners insist that Yle should maintain consistency in its stance and expect "the same active defending of values from Yle now as well".

Yle's response

Yle's head of communications, Jere Nurminen, stated that the company is closely monitoring the situation, engaging with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)—which is also the organiser of the contest—and discussing the matter with other public broadcasters.

Ville Vilén, a Yle representative, emphasised the differences between the Russia–Ukraine and Israel–Palestine conflicts, and said the situation in Gaza was "not quite the same", stating that the latter is not a "war of inter-state aggression", reports the BBC.

Yle plans to meet with the petition's authors to address their concerns.


EBU's stand

The EBU, responsible for organising Eurovision, released a statement emphasising that the contest is "for broadcasters — not for governments".

It clarified that Israel's public broadcaster "complies with all competition rules" and that the Eurovision Song Contest is a "non-political event".

The EBU defended Israel's participation, citing its 50-year involvement in the competition.

This year's Eurovision will take place in the Swedish city of Malmö.

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