There has been pressure for a number of European nations to withdraw from next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled to be hosted by Israel in May 2019. After Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won the Contest in Lisbon last week for her song ‘Toy’, she announced ‘Next Year in Jerusalem!’. Although there has yet to be any official announcement from the national broadcaster IPBC or the EBU, many sources point towards Jerusalem as the host city for 2019. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his interest in Jerusalem hosting the Contest and the other main rival city Tel Aviv have stated they have no interest in putting a bid in.
The news is not welcomed by all, and some politicians, political groups and other individuals have expressed their disgust at the recent and historic violence that the Israeli state has carried out on the Palestinian people on the Gaza Strip. In the wake of the Eurovision result, there has been widespread attacks on Palestinians following the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Among those expressing that their nation should boycott the Contest in 2019 in protest are former winner Charlie McGettigan (Ireland) and a petition started by an Icelandic native has garnered almost 20,000 signatures.
Netta Barzilai has been crowned the winner of Eurovision 2018 for Israel. The singer wowed both juries and the public throughout Europe and Australia with her song ‘Toy’, a reaction to the recent #MeToo Movement. The song beat off stiff competition from Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira who finished in second with song ‘Fuego’, Austria’s Cezar Sampson was a surprise hit with the juries coming in third, former winner Alexander Rybak (Norway) and former runner up Waylon (The Netherlands). Netta totaled 529 points between the jury and televote.
For the most part Eurovision is a celebration of a range of European identities, a chance for nations to express and showcase their national individuality and prowess. On a whole this is about celebrating the music and culture of these nations and usually sees widespread generic messages evoking peace, love and tolerance. Eurovision rules state that:
‘The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows, the ESC [Eurovision Song Contest] as such or the EBU [European Broadcasting Union] into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC.’
However there have been moments in Eurovision’s history that have flouted this rule and has seen rising tensions between countries who are at odds with come to the fore and play out through the Contest.
As we enter 2017, Eurovision national finals are in full flow. To keep you up to date with all the Eurovision happenings, we have brought back our feature; ’15 Things We Learned This Week’ which we will continue to post every Sunday evening to recap the Eurovision news for the past week! So without further ado, here is the 15 things we learned this week…