Israel should be disqualified from Eurovision 2024: European politicians

The organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest are under increasing pressure to exclude Israel from this year’s competition as it wages a devastating war on Gaza.

More than 20 politicians wrote to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Tuesday saying Israel’s participation in the contest “whitewashes a regime that is carrying out ethnic cleansing in Palestine and committing war crimes and genocide”.

European Parliament members and politicians from Spain’s left-wing Podemos party are among the signatories of the letter seen by Al Jazeera.

The annual contest is set to take place in May at Sweden’s Malmo Arena after Swedish singer Loreen won last year.

The politicians behind the letter acknowledged that the EBU, which is a group of public media organisations, wants Eurovision to remain a non-political event.

“However, the Eurovision Song Contest did veto Russia’s participation in the contest from 2022 in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Also, in 2019, Iceland was fined by the festival organisers because the Icelandic contestant displayed a Palestinian flag at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv,” they said.

“Israel’s participation is in clear conflict with what the EBU claims to stand for, as it misinforms about Israel and conceals its genocidal behaviour,” they added.

Thirty-seven countries will participate this year.

Israel became the first non-European country to participate in 1973 and hosted the pop culture event in Tel Aviv in 2019. Entry to the contest is open to all members of the EBU.

Besides the European politicians, musicians in Sweden, artists in Finland, and protesters in Norway and Ireland have sent letters to the EBU urging public broadcasters to exclude Israel from the contest.

Iceland, meanwhile, is reconsidering its participation if Israel is allowed to compete this year.

At the time of publishing, the EBU had not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.

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