Swedish artists call to ban Israel from Eurovision over Gaza 'war crimes'

About 1,000 artists in the country set to host the European song contest have signed a petition calling for Israel to be banned because of its 'brutal war in Gaza'; The Swedish Broadcasting Union said in response that it 'adheres to the decision of the EBU' which announced Israel would participate in the competition
More than 1,000 artists from Sweden, the country set to host the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, signed a petition calling for Israel to be banned from the competition because of its "brutal war in Gaza."
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A letter published in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet charged that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) "displays an incredible double standard that undermines the organization's credibility," by allowing Israel to participate in the competition after Russia was banned last year due to its war on Ukraine.
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Singer Robyn is one of the Swedish artists calling to ban Israel from the Eurovision Song Contest
(Photo: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)
The artists also wrote that "The fact that countries that place themselves above humanitarian law are welcomed to participate in international cultural events trivializes violations of international law and makes the suffering of the victims invisible."
Signatories include internationally successful artists such as singers Robyn and Fever Ray, folk duo First Aid Kit, and former Swedish Eurovision contestants such as Eric Saade and Malena Ernman, the mezzo-soprano opera singer who is also the mother of climate activist Greta Thunberg - who has spoken out against Israel since the beginning of the war.
Last week the European Broadcast Union wrote in a statement to Ynet that there is no intention to oust Israel . "This is a competition for broadcasters and not for governments," it said, adding that "the Israel Broadcasting Corporation has participated in Eurovision for 50 years, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains a non-political event."
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הלוגו הרשמי של האירוויזיון במאלמו, שבדיה
הלוגו הרשמי של האירוויזיון במאלמו, שבדיה
Sweden will host the Eurovision Song Contest in May
In response to the new petition in Sweden, where the final of the singing competition is expected to take place on May 11 in the city of Malmö, the Swedish Broadcasting Union said that it "adheres to the decision of the EBU which decides who participates in the competition". The union added that "the human suffering in this complex and deep conflict is shocking. It is impossible to remain indifferent to the current conditions in Gaza, or to the Hamas attack on Israel. We are also concerned about the developments, and we understand and respect that groups are making their voices heard."
"As the host country, the Swedish Broadcasting Union is in dialogue with the EBU about the challenges involved in production of the largest television broadcast in Europe in these worrying times. We are working to ensure that the project is carried out in the best possible way, with a vision of unity through music."
The European Broadcasting Union has been pressured to ban Israel in recent weeks. In Iceland and Ireland, petitions have already been signed on the subject, which call on their broadcasting authorities to withdraw from the competition if Israel does participate in the competition.
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