Hackney landmark venue cancels annual Eurovision party over Israel’s inclusion

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Hackney landmark venue cancels annual Eurovision party over Israel’s inclusion

Rio Cinema cinema in Dalston refuses to televise grand final of song contest 'while Israel remains in the competition'

Rio Cinema, LinkedIn
Rio Cinema, LinkedIn

London’s largest Eurovision screening party has been cancelled in protest at Israel’s inclusion. 

In a statement on Twitter/X, the independent Rio cinema in Dalston, east London, founded in 1909 by Jewish business woman Clara Ludski, declared it had “collectively decided not to screen the Grand Final of Eurovision Party London while Israel remains in the competition”.

It added that when its “core values of inclusivity, equality and universality are upheld”, that the Eurovision Song Contest “can be a genuine force for good” and that it would continue to organise fundraising events for charities it supports including Medical Aid for Palestine.

The Rio’s annual Eurovision party is described by Londonist listings website as the “go-to event for die-hard Eurovision fans, and London’s biggest Eurovision party”.

Screenshot Rio Cinema, Twitter/X

London Eurovision Party has amended its website to state that “it is not related to the canceled Eurovision Final screening event at Rio Cinema, Eurovision Party London.”

Israel’s entry, called ‘Hurricane’, will be performed by singer Eden Golan during the international song competition in Malmo, Sweden in May. Their original track, ‘October Rain’, was rejected as controversial as the lyrics were thought to reference the Hamas attacks of October 7.

Last year, Israel was represented by Israeli singer Noa Kirel who performed her song Unicorn which placed third.

The Eurovision final is broadcast on BBC One on Saturday 11 May, with semi-finals on Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 May.

Jewish News has contacted Rio Cinema for comment.

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