Eurovision will never be "apolitical" again if Israel wins

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Eurovision will never be “apolitical” again if Israel wins

While campuses around the world are finally filling up with protests against Israel's siege of Gaza, the EBU is trying to carry out the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden with presumed normality. Of course, he's not getting it. A part of the public and artists were already coming to the event disappointed that Israel's participation had been allowed, in the midst of what is considered a “genocide.” This is how the Spanish vice president, Yolanda Díaz, has just described it, in social networks.

A few years ago the organization was already slow in preventing Russia's participation when it invaded Ukraine (we no longer remember that they first said yes to Putin's country). Far from learning from their mistakes, this year they are willing to take it further. Little by little they are entering a garden with no way out, with news every moment that things are getting worse.

In the first semifinal, a spokeswoman dared to describe as “sad” the performance of a Swedish guest artist, Eric Saade, whose father was of Lebanese origin, for wearing the Palestinian scarf. According to her, he was against the rules. In the second semi-final, boos were heard before and during Israel's performance. This country has achieved qualification thanks to televoting, betting has skyrocketed, and the nerves are palpable in the way events are unfolding.

In a very short time we have seen the Greek participant pretending to be asleep during the Israeli press conference, the Dutch participant asking that the EBU be asked and not him if his song 'Europapa' can serve to “unite people” , as the festival proposes. Mysteriously, she has been prevented from rehearsing this afternoon “to investigate an incident involving him.” And a Spanish journalist, Juanma Fernandezhas just been scolded by Israeli journalists for shouting “Free Palestine!”

There are demonstrations in Malmö to protest against the participation of Israel, which has been attending the festival since 1973 because it has belonged to the EBU since the 1950s. There are those who have been asking for decades why he even participates in Eurovision. There are those who point to financial interests and sponsors, but with 34,000 dead on the Gaza border, most of them women and children, there are no excuses left. If only for the safety of the attendees, the artists and the hundreds of workers, since the prestige and coherence of the event is forever damaged, you should, at the very least, rethink your strategy.

Because it seems too late to take action on the matter. With a direction that has completely gotten out of hand, the organization may face having to decide whether Eurovision 2025 has to be held in Israel after winning the festival. And at this point, it is very likely that this will happen. Only the jury can stop it.

Italy has acknowledged that the leak of its televoting yesterday is real. They assure that it was “an accident”, but they point out that what was seen is “incomplete.” No matter how incomplete it may be, if Israel has monopolized something similar to 39% of the Italian vote and the next classified has obtained 7%, as long as this trend is repeated in a certain number of countries, Israel will sweep the televoting tomorrow. How is it possible for this to happen when public opinion is in favor of recognition of the Palestinian State and against war? It's very simple: anyone who feels a logical solidarity with Israel because of the horrible Hamas attacks, because he is Israeli or whatever, will concentrate his vote in Israel. The rest of the public will divide their vote among the 25 countries that are not Israel.

A much larger audience at Saturday's final may change things, but Israel's chances of winning at the moment are very serious, when Eden Golan's performance has never been high in the stakes, nor was it the most technically attractive, nor The song was not the most listened to, nor was the video the most shared. At this juncture it will be very difficult to convince people that Eurovision is an “apolitical festival” as the organization keeps repeating, in an unhealthy way.

The festival wasn't “all politicking” when Lena or Loreen won. But it is clear that in a year like this, the festival was going to be a political festival. It is clear that in a year like that of the invasion of Ukraine it was going to be one too. We have eyes in our faces and we are contemplating in horror the images of dismembered corpses in Gaza, children suffering from water shortages and malnutrition. We cannot look the other way, just as we did not look the other way when terrorists entered a festival in Reim, the Sala Bataclan in Paris, or in the vicinity of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Common sense – and the love of music – brought us together then. The EBU is completely preventing this from happening at Eurovision.

If Israel wins, and the EBU allows its celebration in this country (Ukraine tried to celebrate the festival, even in the middle of the war, but the EBU moved it to the United Kingdom), it could be the end of Eurovision, or at least it will be for many. of us. Delegations from several countries will refuse to attend, and several artists will not even want to appear at this supposedly “apolitical” event.

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.