Israeli Eurovision entry under investigation for ‘political’ song

While the European Broadcasting Union has reaffirmed that Israel will be allowed to participate, a dispute is brewing over the political content of Israel's entry


(JNS/Israel Hayom) Israel’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 in under scrutiny by the event organisers for potentially violating the contest’s rules on non-political music.

The last three lines of the song by Eden Golan, which is mostly sung in English, are in Hebrew, describing the condition of Israeli civilians during the Hamas attack: “There’s no air left to breathe / No place, no me from day to day.”

The song ends with “They were all good children, each one of them,” and also features the word “flowers” which in Hebrew is a commonly used term for fallen IDF soldiers.

The description of the situation in Israel throughout the song will likely be the center of the dispute between Israeli public broadcaster Kan and the European Broadcasting Union, the organizer of the event.

If the song is disqualified on the grounds that it violates the rules, there is the possibility that Kan will refuse to amend the text and Israel will not participate in the contest.

“The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation is in dialogue with the EBU regarding the song that will represent Israel in Eurovision,” said Kan.

Last week, contest organizers reaffirmed that Israel will be allowed to compete amid the war against Hamas, rejecting parallels drawn by pro-Palestinian activists with Russia’s exclusion from the competition over its invasion of Ukraine.

“Comparisons between war and conflict are complex and difficult and, as an apolitical media organization, it is not our place to make them,” EBU Director-General Noel Curran told AFP.

A review by the EBU’s governing bodies found “that the Israeli public broadcaster Kan met all the competition rules for this year and can participate, as it has for the past 50 years,” Curran noted.

The EBU head said his organization was “aware” of voices calling for the Jewish state to be excluded from this year’s competition.

“However, the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political musical event and a competition between public service broadcasters that are members of the EBU. It is not a competition between governments,” Curran said.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 is taking place in Malmö, Sweden, following the Scandinavian country’s victory at the 2023 song contest. Eden Golan, 20, will represent the Jewish state in the second semifinal on May 9. The grand final will take place two days later, on May 11.
Last year, Israeli pop star Noa Kirel finished in third place in the Eurovision final in Liverpool, behind Sweden and Finland.

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