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Fans of Eurovision see the end of the beloved competition due to controversies surrounding it

Will Eurovision be seeing its end soon? Who knows.

The Eurovision Song Contest is an international song competition that has been held annually during the month of May since 1956. Created by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and now on its 68th edition, the song contest has solidified itself as an integral part of European culture, and a music powerhouse, regardless of genre.

Some of the artists that we now love and behold like ABBA, Celine Dion, and Olivia Newton-John got their jump start on the Eurovision stage, as it is an effective way to let a European country’s music become known around the world.

The international song competition also gained its current popularity not only for the music alone, but also for the “camp” appeal that seemingly gets better and better as each year passes, as well as becoming part of the LGBT culture in Europe and becoming internally grained in European pop culture.

However, Eurovision has also become subject to a multitude of controversies during its running, mostly politics-related. Some of these known political conflicts were the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict during the late 2000s, Georgia’s withdrawal during the 2009 due to Russo-Georgian War, and the most infamous one: Israel’s participation.

Ironically, the Eurovision contest continuously aims to promote a “non-political” atmosphere, with its slogan, “United by Music.”

In 2022, Russia was excluded from participating in the Eurovision because of its invasion of Ukraine in February. Belarus was also excluded in the same year because of its national broadcaster BTRC for its use as a propaganda tool, and also lost the rights to broadcast and participate in any kind of Eurovision event until July 1, 2024.

This year’s Eurovision seems to be the tensest one to date, which can be largely attributed to Israel’s participation in the said song competition.

You’re probably asking the question, if it’s called “Eurovision,” why is Israel and Australia part of the competition?

Well, the short answer is this: The Eurovision Song Contest is organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and it is held annually between the members of this union. So, any member or broadcaster part of this union is allowed to participate.

Also, becoming eligible to participate in Eurovision doesn’t necessarily mean the country is geographically in Europe nor do they have to be a member of the European Union. So, that’s that.

Israel made its debut in the Eurovision Song Competition in 1973 and won the contest about 4 times: in 1978, 1979, 1998, and 2018. Their participation in the contest has almost always been controversial, with their hosting of the 1979, 1999, and 2019 Eurovision being slightly marred with objections from religious leaders with regards to the potential interruption to Shabbat, or Judaism’s Day of rest.

In 2019, a number of boycotts were called for by different groups such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) due to Israel’s policies and actions towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the Israeli government’s “pink-washing”.

In 2024, Israel’s participation in the Eurovision was once again raised concerns following its ongoing military campaign in Gaza and in different territories under the control of Palestine, and the humanitarian crisis caused by it.

Another issue rose when the song that the Israeli delegation had originally submitted referenced the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas, with the EBU having to rule it out after it was in violation of the rules.

The Eurovision 2024 semi-finals were held on the 7th and 9th of May, with different demonstrations against Israeli participation and support for Palestine were held in the host city Malmö. The demonstrations had a turnout of around 25,000 people, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Even some of the contestants themselves were against Israel’s participation in Eurovision, and definitely made it known. Ireland’s bet Bambie Thug, in particular, has been one of the most vocal about it. Other current and former Eurovision contestants such as Greece’s Marina Satti, Switzerland’s Nemo, Sweden’s Eric Saade, Belgium’s Mustii, France’s La Zarra and Slimane, Latvia’s Dons, and The Netherlands’ Joost Klein also made statements and actions that weren’t supportive of Israel.

The Netherlands’ contestant, in particular, had questioned Israel’s Eden Golan for choosing not to answer a question by a journalist during a press conference which was, “Have you ever thought that by being here you are bring risk and danger for other participants?” by saying, “Why not?” while covering his face with his country’s flag.

On the 10th of May, reports of an incident surrounding Joost Klein and a reporter started flaring on the Internet, leading to rumors of his disqualification being spread too. Other reports such as harassment by the Israeli delegation to the delegations and journalists of other countries were also made known on social media, with one Spanish journalist coming forward with his own experience of being “intimidated” and “harassed”.

Other clips of some Israeli journalists harassing other contestants also made waves on social media. Some involved the participants being filmed without consent, which is most definitely illegal in Sweden.

Then on the day of the finals, May 11, 2024, all hell broke loose when the European Broadcasting Union and the team behind Eurovision announced that they have disqualified The Netherlands’ Joost Klein from participating, following a “verbal assault” on a Swedish production crew after his performance last Thursday night’s semi-final round.

Eurofans, or fans of the song competition, were all up in flames following the news. The hashtag #JusticeForJoost became popular on the Internet after his disqualification had been announced.

Even before the news of his disqualification was announced, people had already started saying that Eurovision was dead, and that a country not even from Europe had destroyed it.

Dutch public and television AVROTROS released their own statement after the announcement of Joost Klein’s disqualification.

They revealed that Joost Klein was filmed without his consent and repeatedly said that he did not want to be filmed, that he did not touch the woman in question, and that his wishes were disrespected.

The AVROTROS also said that they proposed some solutions to the EBU, which they had ignored and went on with the disqualification.


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