Irish Eurovision contestant accuses Israel's Kan broadcaster of 'inciting violence' against them, slams organisers

Irish Eurovision contestant accuses Israel's Kan broadcaster of 'inciting violence' against them, slams organisers
Bambie Thug has criticised Eurovision organisers for not responding in time over an incident involving Israeli channel Kan, who they say 'incited violence'.
3 min read
13 May, 2024
Earlier in the competition, Bambie Thug was forced to remove pro-Palestinian slogans from their performance [Getty/file photo]

Ireland’s contestant at the Eurovision Song Contest has spoken out against the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for failing to take their complaints against Israel broadcaster Kan into consideration, after the competition's final on Saturday.

Bambie Thug said that the Israeli channel "incited violence against them" three times, with the situation making them unable to show up to the completion’s rehearsal – which could have put their live final performance in jeopardy.

The 31-year-old singer said the EBU allowed the Irish team to be "scapegoats" and accused Kan of "disobeying rules". She also said that Israel should not be allowed to compete in Israel

"So now that I’m free, I can talk about everything right?" they said, in an interview with media following the competition.

"Kan, the broadcaster, incited violence against me twice, three times," Bambie claimed. "We brought it up to the EBU. They said they’d follow up."

"They waited to the last minute, we still haven’t got a statement back to us, allowed us to be scapegoats, allowed us to be the spokesperson for standing up for ourselves," they continued.

"We are what Eurovision is. F*** the EBU."  

Irish media also reported that hours before the live final, Bambie called on organisers to address commentary made on Israeli television that aired before their performance in Tuesday’s semifinal. The details of the incident have yet to be revealed.

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Bambie Thug finished in sixth place overall, after receiving Ireland’s highest score in the competition since 2000.

Earlier this week, the singer said that organisers "forced her to remove" pro-Palestine slogans such as 'Ceasefire Now' etched in body paint and written in Ogham script – an early Medieval alphabet.

The 31-year-old said the messages were "very important to her" due to being "pro-justice and pro-peace".

The song competition has been marred with controversy since it was reported that Israel’s candidate, 20-year-old Eden Golan, would be allowed to take part despite Israel’s brutal war in Gaza.

At least 35,091 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, as a brutal and indiscriminate Israeli military offensive continues.  Israeli has been accused of genocide by multiple NGOs and rights groups.

Pro-Palestinian activists, musicians and government officials have been calling for Israel to be excluded from the competition in the lead-up to Eurovision, but this was rejected by the EBU on the grounds that the singing contest was a "non-political event".

Additionally, the EBU said it "regretted" an opening act's wearing of the Keffiyeh last week, accusing half-Palestinian singer Eric Saade of "compromising the non-political nature of the event".

The original lyrics of Israel's entry made reference to Hamas's October 7 attacks which was deemed "too political" by the EBU’s standards. In March, Israel agreed to amending the song’s lyrics and title.

The competition, eventually won by Swiss singer Nemo, drew protests in central Malmo ahead of Saturday's final, with protesters waving Palestinian flags and shouting "Eurovision united by genocide" - a twist on the contest's official slogan "United by music".  Among those protesting was teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.