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Iceland wants Israel disqualified from Eurovision

Icelandic musicians say the country should face the same treatment as Russia after it launched its military operation in Ukraine

A group representing musicians in Iceland has called on the Nordic country’s broadcaster RUV to withdraw from the next year’s Eurovision Song Contest if Israel is allowed to participate.

More than 19,400 people, mostly women and children, have been killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes and ground operations in Gaza, the latest figures from the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave suggest. The IDF launched its attacks on Gaza in response to an incursion into Israel by Hamas on October 7, which left some 1,200 dead.

“We all have a duty to take a stand against war and the killing of civilians and innocent children,” the Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT) said in a statement on Facebook last week.

The FTT called on the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV) “not to participate in Eurovision in 2024 unless Israel is denied participation in the competition on the same grounds as Russia in the last competition.”

“We owe it to the nations that act with military force to not share with them in an event that is always characterized by joy and optimism,” the musicians said.

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A petition urging Iceland to boycott Eurovision 2024, which is scheduled to take place in Malmo, Sweden in May, had also been started, gathering more than 9,300 signatures. The island nation has a population of some 372,000.

The statement by the FTT was made in the wake of the RUV’s board meeting. However, the issue of withdrawing from the Eurovision was reportedly not considered during the gathering.

The European Broadcast Union (EBU), which stages the Eurovision, said in a response to several media outlets that it’s “a competition for broadcasters – not governments – and the Israeli public broadcaster has participated in the Contest for 50 years.”

The union argued that its stance “is aligned with other international organizations that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time.”

The EBU made similar statements after the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. However, as pressure from Kiev’s backers on the union mounted, it changed its stance, arguing that “the inclusion of a Russian entry… would bring the competition into disrepute.” Russia ended up missing the Eurovision in 2022 and 2023.


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On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced that Moscow was going to stage its own song contest with “partner countries” as a replacement for the Eurovision. The first iteration of ‘Intervision’ is going to be held in Russia next year, he said.

December 19, 2023 at 02:15PM
RT

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