As the scores were being tallied at the completion of Saturday night’s grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, members of the Icelandic group Hatari held up Palestinian flags when co-host Erez Tal announced the country’s strong showing in the popular vote.
Months ago, there was pressure mounted within Iceland calling on the country to boycott this year’s Israel-hosted competition to protest what was called “apartheid” in Israel.
During the week-long Eurovision festivities, the punk rock band had stood out with a provocative song and its overall hostile demeanor. The group says the flags were confiscated because it broke Eurovision song contest guidelines barring the introduction of politics into the musical proceedings.
Inside the hall, co-host Bar Refaeli moved on to restore business by announcing the score of the next country in line, but the pause gave enough time for a large audience watching on video screens outside in Tel Aviv’s Eurovision Village to boo the provocatively political Icelandic action.