The Next Star/Photo: Keshet 12
After several media outlets and broadcasters around the world expressed questions about Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 amid calls to boycott it due to the war in Gaza, comes the response of the European Broadcasting Union. In a letter sent to a Belgian newspaper, the broadcasting union responsible for Eurovision clarified that the Israeli Broadcasting Authority complies with all the rules of the contest and that there is no reason to ban it from participating in the European Song Contest.
"Eurovision is a competition between public broadcasters from across Europe and the Middle East," the statement said. "This is a competition between broadcasters, not governments, and Israeli public broadcasting has been participating in the competition for fifty years. The European Broadcasting Union is an organization made up of members. The governing bodies represent the same members. These bodies examined the participants in the competition and decided that the Israeli public broadcaster complies with the rules of the competition and together with 36 other broadcasters it will be able to participate in the competition in 2024.
The European Broadcasting Union also pointed out that Israel participates in other international competitions and noted that it was not excluded from them. "As of now, there is an approach that does not exclude Israel from major competitions. The Eurovision Song Contest will remain an apolitical event that unites audiences around the world."
Noa Kirel at Eurovision/Screenshot, EBU, Kan 11
A few weeks ago, Eurovoix fan site announced that it would not cover the program that serves as the precursor to the big event. The reason: using the program "as a political tool to promote military action", which goes against the connecting ethos by which Eurovision was established. The site's editors also urge others to do the same.
"The following statement was written on behalf of the team at Eurovoix regarding our coverage of Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest," the entry reads. "The ongoing situation in Israel and Palestine is an event with implications far beyond the Eurovision Song Contest. As a means of communication for Eurovision fans, we believe that we have no room to comment on the situation other than to hope that quiet in the region can be restored as soon as possible - in the spirit in which Eurovision was first created.
"As of now, Israel and its broadcaster, here, will still compete in Eurovision 2024. As a result, we have so far decided to cover Eurovision-related news from Israel, as there was no indication that its broadcaster was in violation of the competition rules. However, a clip released today by Keshet 12 to promote the first episode of 'The Next Star,' Israel's national choice for Eurovision 2024, greatly worried the team."
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Noa Kirel returns from Eurovision/Niv Aharonson
"The clip, which we will not share here" (so it is written, but here you can see it above), "indicates that the 'special program' includes connections and moments with soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, and that some of the jurors and contestants will appear dressed in soldier's uniforms. There are also photographs of IDF forces recruited during the promotion.
"In our view, this video shows a clear intention of Israeli broadcasting to use their national selection process as a political tool to promote military action. In addition, the decision to show the contestants and jurors dressed as soldiers compares the values of Eurovision to those of the Israeli government.
"At Eurovoix, we believe Eurovision represents peace and harmony for all people in Europe and around the world. The use of Eurovision to directly promote a military campaign, approved by the Israeli government, is directly contrary to these values, and that of our team."
"As a result, we made the decision to significantly limit our coverage of The Next Star. This is how we will review the program, and any news regarding Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, below: We will report on the final result of the contest and confirm the artist and song that will represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2024. No further developments regarding Israel's involvement in Eurovision have been reviewed at this stage. If Israel remains involved in the contest, we will only report the factual information surrounding their entry – this policy will remain in effect as long as the coverage and promotion of Israel's Eurovision is used for political purposes in this way. We invite journalists and other news organizations to follow suit. At this time, we will not comment further on this policy."
They concluded: "Eurovoix wishes peace to all those involved in the ongoing situation in Israel and Palestine."
- More on the subject:
- Eurovision 2024
- The Next Star