Finland joins Iceland’s Eurovision boycott threat over Gaza war

Finland’s move follows Iceland’s threat to withdraw from the music competition and news that Norway is also considering pulling out of Eurovision.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Finland threatened to sit out of Eurovision 2024 to protest Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

This follows Iceland’s threat to withdraw from the music competition and news that Norway is also considering pulling out of the Eurovision.

The UMK, a Finnish music competition whose finalists go on to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, posted on Instagram that it’s on the fence about Eurovision given “the situation in the Middle East.”

The Instagram post, translated from Finnish, said, “The situation in the Middle East is very shocking and serious, and it’s also worrying the UMK group.”

The post continued, “UMK, organized by Yle, has already grown into such a big program that it occurs regardless of whether Finland participates in Eurovision or not. Regarding Eurovision, Yle’s management is closely following the situation and is in discussions with the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and other Nordic countries.”

At last year’s competition, Israel’s representative Noa Kirel finished in third place in the Eurovision final behind Sweden and Finland.

On December 6th, Norway’s parallel competition announced it had “not yet taken a position” on participating in Eurovision.

Last week, in a statement, the Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT) called for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV) to withdraw if Israel participates, comparing it to Russia’s ban in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine.

“We all have a duty to take a stand against war and the killing of civilians and innocent children,” the group said about Israel’s war with Hamas in the FTT statement.

“We always have the choice not to put our name to such things, whether we are individuals or state institutions,” the FTT statement continued.

“We owe it to the nations that act with military force to not share with them in an event that is always characterized by joy and optimism.”

Despite the request, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed Israel’s eligibility, highlighting Eurovision’s non-political nature and its role in uniting audiences through music. The EBU’s statement reiterated that participation is based on broadcasters, not governments, and the Israel Broadcasting Authority complies with all competition rules.