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Israel seeks ways to compete in Eurovision with politically charged song

February 27, 2024 at 4:25 pm

Eurovision Song Contest logo [Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Tel Aviv is trying to include a song with a political message related to the 7 October incident, which is not normally permitted in the annual Eurovision Song Contest, Israeli media reported on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Israel intends to participate in the five-day contest beginning on 7 May in Sweden with a song called “October Rain” by Israeli singer, Eden Golan, according to media reports.

The song is about the Israeli soldiers who were killed in a Hamas attack on 7 October, it added.

Despite its well-known criteria for participating countries, songs with political messages are disqualified from entering the contest, the Israeli media says the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will consider Israel’s song and decide whether or not it meets the contest’s rules.

If the EBU rejects Tel Aviv’s application with “October Rain”, Israel will be given another chance to enter the contest with a different song.

READ: Palestine pop singer favourite to represent Iceland in Eurovision

However, Israeli state broadcaster, KAN, reported that the country will not change its song even if the EBU rejects it, and Israel itself “will not compete in the contest”.

Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, said: “It is important that Israel takes part in Eurovision to show that it is smart, not just right.”

Meanwhile, in some countries, such as Ireland, artists and politicians are advocating for Israel’s exclusion from the contest if it tried to participate with “October Rain” song.

On 10 January, La Zarra, a Moroccan-Canadian singer who represented France in the 2023 contest, called for Israel’s ban from the song contest, saying: “Unfortunately, we are, once again, facing massacres and genocide against the Palestinian people and attacks in the West Bank and Lebanon.”

In Sweden, 1,000 people, including artists and music industry officials, launched an online petition on 10 January, demanding that “Israel be banned from the Eurovision Song Contest”.

The artists demanded that Sweden withdraw from the competition if Israel’s participation was not barred.

The left-wing Podemos Party, which supports the Spanish minority left-wing coalition government from outside, also demanded on 1 January that Israel be expelled from the Eurovision Song Contest due to its indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Gaza.

READ: Over 8,000 artists and curators petition for Israel’s exclusion from Venice Biennale