Iceland threatens to pull out of Eurovision Song Contest if Israel competes

The Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland said the Jewish state should be expelled on the same grounds as Russia


Singer Noa Kirel performs on behalf of Israel during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2023 (Photo: Getty)

Iceland has called for Israel to be disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest next year amid the Jewish state’s war with Hamas terrorists

The Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT), which represents artists in the country, told its members in a statement that Iceland should not participate in the show unless Israel is removed.

In an official statement on their Facebook page, the board announced that they had formally requested the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV) to refrain from participating. 

Explaining why, the FTT called for the removal of Israel from Eurovision “on the same grounds as Russia in the last competition". Russia was excluded from the competition in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, they added: "We all have a duty to take a stand against war and the killing of civilians and innocent children.

"We always have the choice not to put our name to such things, whether we are individuals or state institutions.

"We owe it to the nations that act with military force to not share with them in an event that is always characterised by joy and optimism."

Israel is not located in Europe but is allowed to participate thanks to the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) being an active member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Israel made its debut at the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1973 and has won the competition four times. 

Responding to the calls, the EBU released a statement regarding Israel’s participation in Eurovision and said it currently has no plans to ban Israel from competition.

The EBU, an alliance of public service broadcasters from across 36 countries which organise the contest, said: "The Eurovision Song Contest is a competition for public broadcasters from all over Europe and the Middle East. It is a contest for broadcasters – not for governments – and the Israeli public broadcaster has been participating in the contest for 50 years.

“The EBU is a member-led organisation. The EBU’s governing bodies – led by the Board of Directors – represent the members. These bodies assessed the list of participants and decided that the Israeli public broadcaster complies with all competition rules.

“Together with 36 other broadcasters, it will be able to participate in the competition next year.”

The statement added: “At the moment, there is an inclusive attitude towards Israeli participants in major competitions.

“The Eurovision Song Contest remains a non-political event, uniting audiences worldwide through music.”

Next year's contest will take place in Malmo, Sweden in May 2024.

It comes as Israeli Eurovision competitor Noa Kirel became embroiled in a row with the Polish government after the country attacked comments she made in the wake of her third-place finish in the Liverpool competition in 2023. 

Speaking to Israeli media after her podium finish, Kirel said that it was an "honour" to receive the maximum 12 points from Poland as her family had been murdered in the country during the Shoah.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive