EDITORIAL – Politics in Eurovision is not something new. It’s also not something new how Israeli hosting of the event always create fuzz. Threats to singers in 1979, which forced them even. To wear bulletproof jackets while performing, threats to Dana International in 1999 during her video shooting for the interval and more.
But in the Ano Domini 2019 Europe remembered the Palestinians, who weirdly weren’t an issue in 1999. Australian and Irish broadcaster received huge demonstrations and letters to boycott the contest. Thankfully both broadcasters rejected the request using the most logical argument that Eurovision is a music event and not a political one.
Reactions kicks off immediately when Netta won last year in Lisbon and al. the broadcasters alerted themselves for potential riots and reactions. In Sweden and the UK, broadcasters managed to see out the protesters and mad sure during the audience security check not to allow Palestinian flags inside their venues.
In Ireland, tweets against the internally selected singer forced even former politicians to start talking about transformation of the protests not bullying. What did they wrote on twitter? One tweeted to her: “Hi Sarah, the way the voting works means you have zero chance of winning. However, if you boycott this Eurovision you will be remembered forever.” Another stated: “You will have the respect of the Irish Nation if you pull out now. Don’t ruin your career before it starts.” A third tweeted to her: “I bet you all have a collective orgasm every time you learn of a Palestinian child murdered. Unadulterated evil.”
In the UK over 200 celebrities (of course most of them aged and forgotten by the media spotlight) signed a letter against participation in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. This was actually thee very first anti-Israel section for which though we have to admit Israeli government gave an excuse with the incident where 100 Palestinians killed in summer riots.
Moreover the potential choice of Jerusalem brought in the surface a big issue with the Europeans as many states do not recognise the city as the Israeli capital. But we all knew that Jerusalem (especially with the current infrastructure) couldn’t host such a huge vent, which in numbers and logistics has nothing to do with 1979 and 1999 needs. But once again members of Israeli government provoked the Europeans with statements in favour of Jerusalem hosting the event.
Last but not least the issue of the Israeli TV show which would show a French muslim gay participant was terrorist in a big music event attack in Tel Aviv which forced French broadcaster two threat with withdrawal. Butt in the end everything was solved with backstage negotiations.
Let’s not gorget though the incidents where pro Palestinian demonstrator entered the stage during the live show.
It’s not only the Palestinian issue that brought in the spotlight this year. Ukrainian-Russian relation tensions once again made an impact in the news. National Final winner Maruv paid the price of the dispute when during the final live show she was clearly bullied by Eurovision winner Jamala who asks her where Crimea belongs. Although Jamala was asking the question in the form of a potential question in Israel by a Russian provocateur, Maruv’s facials will not be forgotten.
Of course, the public voting winner of Eurovision 2016, Sergey Lazarev who returns in this year’s Eurovision edition, was (as expected) attacked. Aside the costs about his personal love life and aside the fact that no one can doubt the excellency of his song and video production, “some” remembered his interview in 2014 where he said that Crimea is Ukrainian and not Russian despite the Russians annexing the region. I don’t recall why “these” people didn’t reproduced the interview in 2016 but they remembered it in 2019.
The editorial is yet to finish. Iceland’s representatives, band Hatari assured their voters they will rootlets for the Palestinians during their performance in Tel Aviv. Although they claim the protest will not include the use of Palestinian flags, EBU is alerted and will not hesitate to disqualify even during the live show, the Icelandic entry. Weirdly Iceland features in the top five in the odds for the winner. I think that pro-Palestinian lobbies are betting for Iceland in order to create sensation. I doubt European juries and public will even vote for that song.
But there is still hope: Greece and North Macedonia finally will stop fight over the name. The ex Yugoslav Balkan state has finally the name which Greeks also approved (at least politically).
So I guess there is still hope!