For Eurovision, Nordic artists give Israel a cold shoulder

On January 31, at the end of a two-day state visit to Sweden, while he was about twenty kilometers from Malmö, where Eurovision will take place in May, Emmanuel Macron wanted to please his hosts by mentioning the competition in a country that has won it seven times. “I must confess that France has not always been very successful,” he admitted, smirking, before adding that he hoped ” the best “ for the singer Slimane, who will represent France this year.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Eurovision: beneath the kitsch, rhinestones and glitter, the weight of geopolitics

No doubt Emmanuel Macron was unaware of the controversy raging in Sweden and neighboring countries, since the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), organizer of the event, confirmed Israel’s participation on 10 December 2023. A decision which provoked an outcry in Northern Europe, while the Israeli response to the massacres perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 left more than twenty-four thousand dead in Gaza, according to the Islamist organization.

Just two days before the French president’s speech, one thousand five hundred Swedish artists signed an article in the newspaper Aftonbladet to demand the exclusion of Israel. “Welcoming countries that place themselves above humanitarian law and allowing them to participate in international cultural events trivializes violations of international law and makes the suffering of victims invisible,” indicates the text, which mentions the investigation by the International Court of Justice against Israel, a country accused of “genocide” by South Africa.

In Iceland, a call for a boycott

Among the signatories are pop singer Robyn, duo First Aid Kit and rapper Timbuktu, as well as mezzo-soprano Malena Ernman, Sweden’s 2009 Eurovision contestant and mother of activist Greta Thunberg, who recently found herself in turmoil for showing her support for the Palestinians. The artists criticize the EBU for showing “double morals” by authorizing Israel to participate in the competition, after having removed Russia from it in 2022, following the war in Ukraine.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “With South Africa’s complaint against Israel for genocide, the South is contesting a memory dominated by the Shoah and opposing it to that of colonization”

The Swedes are not the only ones protesting. As of December 11, the Icelandic Association of Authors and Composers asked RUV, the Icelandic public broadcasting group, to boycott the competition, unless Israel was excluded, “on the same basis as Russia”. “We all have a duty to take a stand against war and the killing of innocent civilians and children,” argued the association, supported by five hundred Icelandic artists who signed a petition calling for a boycott on January 18.

You have 55% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.

source site-26