Estonia revokes invite to Eurovision judge because he’s Israeli

Estonian TV acknowledged that the reason Amir was being rejected was because of the controversy surrounding Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Israeli Eurovision expert Alon Amir was barred from judging the pre-Eurovision song contest in Estonia because of his nationality, although the contestant representing Israel will be allowed to compete in Malmo, Sweden.

Amir was slated to judge the preliminary round of the contest and received an invitation as recently as three weeks ago, but afterward was called and told that he would not be allowed to judge the competition because he is Israeli.

In the past, Amir has been a spokesman for the Israeli delegation, as well as having served as a Eurovision judge.  He has even written a book on the subject, but he has nevertheless said he didn’t take it personally that he was uninvited.

Estonian TV acknowledged that the reason Amir was being rejected was because of the controversy surrounding Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

In an interview with Mako, Amir said, “It was done not in a malicious way; I understand them […] If they bring an Israeli judge, it will cause a mess.”

Read  Eurovision under fire again for allowing Israel's participation

He added, “I understand them. I’m upset on a personal level, but I understand the desire to avoid it.”

On his Facebook page, Amir wrote, “When I received the invitation, I thought to myself that they were very brave to invite an Israeli at a time like this… The lovely production team wanted me, but the Estonian TV management vetoed it because it would bring unwanted attention in their direction.”

A bright spot is that Israel’s contestant for Eurovision 2024, Eden Golan, will be allowed to perform and compete.  This is in spite of protests from Scandinavian performers and others, who wanted Israel to be barred from the competition in the same way that Russia was banned following its invasion of Ukraine.

In spite of over a thousand Swedish performers demanding Israel’s ouster from the competition, organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest confirmed that Israel would be allowed to participate in the competition in Malmo, Sweden.

“Comparisons between war and conflict are complex and difficult and, as an apolitical media organization, it is not our place to make them,” Noel Curran, director-general of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the annual musical extravaganza, told AFP.

“As pertains to the suspension of Russian broadcasters from the event in 2022 and beyond, we would like to highlight that the relationship between the Israeli public broadcaster, KAN, and the Israeli government is fundamentally different to the relationship that exists between the Russian broadcasters and the state,” added Curran.

Read  Erdogan imposes economic sanctions on Israel