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Thousands rally against Israel’s involvement in Eurovision finale



Thousands of people protested in the Swedish city of Malmo against Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, with Israel’s actions in Gaza casting a shadow over the final. Protesters gathered in the central square before marching towards the contest venue, waving Palestinian flags and shouting slogans. The demonstrations were fueled by frustration and anger over the handling of the situation by the Swedish government. Police estimated between 6,000 and 8,000 people joined the protests in Malmo.

The protests were relatively peaceful, but some demonstrators were taken away by the police as the final got under way. Inside the auditorium, French singer Slimane paused his rehearsal act to speak about the importance of singing for peace. The final, which features catchy songs and gaudy costumes, is a celebration of music and talent. Pro-Palestinian protesters have criticized the European Broadcasting Union for banning Russia from Eurovision but allowing Israel to participate despite the conflict in Gaza.

Israel’s contestant Eden Golan faced criticism and booing during his performance in the semifinals. The song he performed was an adaptation of an earlier version that was deemed too political. Despite the controversy, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed support for Golan and condemned the protests as antisemitic. The event was further marred by the disqualification of Dutch contestant Joost Klein, who was involved in an incident with a production crew member after his performance in the semifinals.

The disqualification of Klein sparked debate over whether the punishment was proportional to the incident. Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS defended Klein’s actions, stating that while they stand for good manners, the exclusion order was too harsh. Klein had previously courted controversy by covering his face with a Dutch flag at a news conference, signaling his disagreement with being placed next to Israel’s contestant. The protests and controversies surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest highlight the intersection of politics, music, and international relations in the world of entertainment.

In conclusion, the protests in Malmo against Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest reflect the ongoing tensions and conflicts in the region. The event, meant to be a celebration of music and talent, has been overshadowed by political controversies and demonstrations. The disqualification of a contestant and the criticisms against the European Broadcasting Union underscore the complexities of hosting a global event in the midst of international conflicts. Ultimately, the protests and controversies surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest serve as a reminder of the interconnectedness of politics and entertainment on the world stage.

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