Israel’s Eurovision team accuse competitors of ‘hatred’

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Israel’s Eurovision team accuse competitors of ‘hatred’

Protesters condemned Israel taking part, while Eden Golan’s performances throughout the week were met with a mix of boos and cheers.

Screenshot: Eurovision Twitter
Screenshot: Eurovision Twitter

The Israeli delegation at the Eurovision Song Contest faced “an unprecedented display of hatred” from other countries and their entrants, the national broadcaster has claimed.

This year the international singing competition was mired in controversy. The participation of Israeli contestant Eden Golan in the wake of the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza was a frayed point of debate.

During the week-long competition, pro-Palestinian protesters showed their support for Gaza and condemned Israel taking part in Eurovision, while Golan’s performances throughout the week were met with a mix of boos and cheers.

A statement from the Israeli public broadcaster Kan to the PA news agency said: “This year, the Israeli delegation faced immense pressure and an unprecedented display of hatred, notably from other delegations and artists, publicly and collectively, solely because of the simple fact that we are Israeli’s and that we were there.

“However, throughout the journey, the delegation maintained a dignified and respectful approach towards artists and other delegations, striving to foster unity around music while adhering to the competition’s rules, unlike some other delegations.”

After the contest concluded on Saturday, Eurovision organisers said that they will review the competition after some delegations “didn’t respect the spirit of the rules”.

The Israeli delegation were criticised by contestants including Ireland’s Bambie Thug, who has been outspoken about their pro-Palestine views.

They accused the Israeli broadcaster of a rule break over inciting “violence” and said they have been waiting to hear back from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) about what action would be taken.

Israel was represented at the event in Malmo, Sweden, by 20-year-old singer Golan, who finished fifth after receiving an audience score of 323 points, and 52 points from the other country’s jury votes.

Her emotional song Hurricane was reworked from a previous track called October Rain, which was thought to reference the Hamas attacks on Israel that sparked the conflict.

The statement from Kan added: “Despite the impossible challenges, Eden Golan handled the task admirably, earning respect, and the received points from the European audience speaks for itself.

“We could not be more proud of the result.”

There was also controversy after the disqualification of the Netherlands’s contestant Joost Klein, who was stopped from taking part over an “incident” where he was alleged to have made verbal threats to a female production worker.

This move was strongly criticised by the Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS, who called the penalty “very heavy and disproportionate”.

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