East London cinema cancels screening of Eurovision ‘while Israel remains in the competition’

The hosts of the UK’s largest Eurovision screening have announced their decision to scrap the event over the weekend


The Rio Cinema in Dalston, which has hosted the UK's largest Eurovision screening in past years, has cancelled this year's screening of the song contest over Israel's inclusion. (Photo: Andrew Woodyatt)

A cinema in east London has cancelled its planned screening of the Eurovision Song Contest final over Israel’s participation in the competition.

In a statement posted across its social media accounts over the weekend, the independent Rio cinema in Dalston shared its decision to cancel the Eurovision screening, which the post said has been a beloved event at the cinema in previous years.

“Following discussion with the organisers of Eurovision Party London, we have collectively decided not to screen the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest this year while Israel remains in the competition,” the statement said.

“The Eurovision Party London has been a beloved partner of the Rio Cinema for many years, and we will continue to work with them in the future. We firmly believe that the Eurovision Song Contest has the power to bring people together across the world, and when its core values of inclusivity, equality and universality are upheld, it can be a genuine force for good. With its own slogan in mind, we hope that we can all be United By Music again soon.”

The statement added: “We will continue to organise fundraising events for the charities we support, including Doctors Without Borders and Medical Aid for Palestine.”

Eurovision Party London, the largest Eurovision screening organisers in the UK, also shared a statement about the cancellation on X, echoing the statement by the Rio Cinema: “Following discussion with the Rio Cinema and its board of trustees, it is with a heavy heart that we have collectively decided not to screen the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest this year.”

Noel Curran, director general of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) responsible for organising Eurovision, responded to the cancellation in a statement to Variety, writing: “We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East. We can’t fail to be moved by the profound suffering of all those caught up in this terrible war.

“However, the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political music event and a competition between public service broadcasters who are members of the EBU. It is not a contest between governments. We are aware of the many voices calling to exclude Israel from this year’s competition in the same way as we excluded the Russian broadcaster in 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine.”

The organisers of the UK’s largest screening party of Eurovision, The London Eurovision Party, and the manager of the Rio Cinema, have all been contacted for comments.

The decision comes amid intensifying calls for the boycott of Eurovision over Israel’s continued participation, about which the EBU has repeatedly stressed the apolitical nature of the song contest as its reason for refusing to exclude Israel from the competition.

The UK’s entrant, singer Olly Alexander, has previously been criticised for signing a petition accusing Israel of war crimes and calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. But support for Israel has remained consistent, as over 400 celebrities and entertainment industry executives have signed a public letter urging that Israel be allowed to take part.

To adhere to competition rules about song topics, the Israeli entry was rewritten three times to remove references to both October 7 and dead IDF soldiers. 

Singer Eden Golan, will sing the new song ‘Hurricane’ at the event in Malmo, Sweden on May 9.

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