Swedish protest calls for kicking Israel out of Eurovision 2024 in Malmo, Sweden

Swedish protest calls for kicking Israel out of Eurovision 2024 in Malmo, Sweden


11 April, 2024

Protesters in Malmo, Sweden yesterday waved Palestinian flags and displayed banners that called for a boycott of Israel at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, which Malmo itself will host next month.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises Eurovision, bills the song contest as a non-political event. But politics almost always finds its way into the contest, which this year takes place amid protests and calls for boycotts over the devastating and relentless Israeli military campaign in Gaza since Hamas's attack on October 7. Since then, more than 33,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces - of which around 13,800 of that figure are children.

Meanwhile, 76,094 people have been injured, aid workers, healthcare workers, and journalists have also been targetted by Israeli strikes, and approximately 1.5 million out of the two million residents of Gaza have been displaced from their homes. Protesters outside Malmo city held a banner calling for the boycott of Israel above the Eurovision logo, while another banner featured red stains to look like blood and a pair of scissors cutting the chord to a microphone displaying an Israeli flag. While the EBU has previously banned other countries' songs for political messages, it has rejected calls for Israel to be banned from Eurovision this year because of its war on Gaza.

The organisers face backlash for perceived double standards, after excluding Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, while including Israel, which The Hague in January ruled is plausibly carrying out genocide in Gaza.

The EBU said it suspended the Russian broadcasters over "persistent breaches of membership obligations and the violation of public service values". But it decided to include Israeli broadcaster KAN because it was not a contest between governments and that KAN met all competition rules.