EntertainmentFinnish musicians threaten Eurovision boycott if Israel's participation continues amid Gaza conflict

Finnish musicians threaten Eurovision boycott if Israel's participation continues amid Gaza conflict

Finnish musicians demand Israel's exclusion from Eurovision.
Finnish musicians demand Israel's exclusion from Eurovision.
Images source: © Getty Images | Aaron Chown

12:50 PM EST, January 12, 2024

Over 1,400 Finnish music artists have requested the exclusion of Israel from this year's Eurovision, a significant European music festival, according to Euractiv. This appeal is a reaction to Israeli activities in the Gaza Strip leading artists to sign a petition addressed to the Finnish public television broadcaster, Yle.

Finns call for Israel's exclusion from Eurovision

Yle, a member of the Eurovision organizing body, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), is responsible for choosing representatives and co-producing concerts as part of the national television stations. Finnish artists insist that Yle makes an official request to EBU to exclude Israel from this year's Eurovision.

The petition also bears signatures by notable musicians, including Olavi Uusivirta, Paleface, and Axel Ehnström, a former Finnish representative at Eurovision. The artists are also pressuring Yle to threaten Finland's withdrawal from the contest if Israel remains a participant.

Accusing Yle of double standards, the petition references previous demands to exclude Russia and Belarus from Eurovision due to their involvement in the Ukraine crisis. However, the Finnish broadcaster, which currently adheres to EBU's recommendations, disputes these charges, arguing that these situations are distinctly different. Ville Vilén, the Finnish delegate to the EBU, emphasizes that Russia invaded a neighbouring country without provocation, whereas Israel is defending its territory and responding to attacks from Hamas.

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