Over a thousand Swedish performers demand Israel’s ouster from Eurovision

They join Finns and Icelanders in denouncing supposed Israeli war crimes in its fight against the Hamas terror organization.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Over a thousand Swedish performers demanded Israel’s ouster from the Eurovision song contest their country will be hosting in May in a letter published Monday in one of the largest daily newspapers in the Nordic region.

Accusing Israel of committing “war crimes” in its ongoing war against the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, their missive in the Aftonbladet stated that the Jewish state’s participation in the annual competition “undermines” its “mission” as “a peace project with the ambition to unite countries and citizens through music.”

Israel put itself “above humanitarian law,” it said, and allowing its representative to sing in the competition “trivializes violations of international law and makes the suffering of the victims invisible,” the letter added.

The musicians, singers, dancers and choreographers were horrified by the Hamas claim that more than 25,000 Gazans have died in the nearly four-month-old war, which does not mention that close to 10,000 of them were combatants, according to IDF field reports.

This ratio of civilian-to-military personnel deaths is considered extremely low, admirable, and acceptable by almost every army in the world during a war.

They also denounced Israel’s “forc[ing] 85% of the population to flee” their homes, ignoring the context that the IDF wanted to protect civilians by warning them to leave because their neighborhoods were about to become battle zones.

With this letter, the Swedes joined the earlier protest of more than 1,400 of their fellow Finnish and Icelander artists against Israel.  Finland’s music competition that selects their Eurovision participant and Iceland’s composers and lyricists association both called for their countries to boycott the contest if Israel participates as their stand “against war and the killing of civilians and innocent children,” as the latter stated.

Reacting to the Swedes’ missive, a spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs the mega-popular song contest, told American music and entertainment magazine Billboard, “We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East. However, we are committed to ensuring the Eurovision Song Contest remains a non-political event in which broadcasters and artists, not governments, compete.”

“Israeli public broadcaster KAN met all the competition rules for this year and can participate as it has for the past 50 years,” the EBU continued, adding that it was “aligned with other international organizations, including sports unions … that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time.”

Read  McDonald’s to repurchase 225 restaurants from its Israeli franchise after sales decline from anti-Israel boycotts

The Swedish Broadcasting Union said it would “adhere to the decision of the EBU.”

Israel’s critics maintain that the EBU should ban the country just as it banned Russia in 2022 after its invasion of Ukraine earlier that year because allowing it to participate would “bring the competition into disrepute.”