Gaza Conflict Takes Center Stage at Eurovision Song Contest

    Gaza Conflict Takes Center Stage at Eurovision Song Contest
    Image copyright: Cameron Smith/Stringer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest have expressed their "regret" after Eric Saade — the 2011 winner from this year's host country, Sweden — performed while wearing a keffiyeh around his wrist, the Arabic shawl which has become synonymous with pro-Palestine protests.

    • Last week, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the televised extravaganza, said that Palestinian flags, as well as any other political banners or messages, would be banned from the event — citing a need for the contest to remain apolitical.

    The Spin

    Pro-Israel narrative

    There are valid reasons why Israel is allowed to compete in this event while Russia and Belarus are not. Their public broadcasters have repeatedly breached the member obligations of the EBU, while the Israeli broadcaster Kan has not. As such, removing Israel would have been a political decision.

    Pro-Palestine narrative

    This is pure hypocrisy from the EBU. In an event about joy and unity, artists should have the ability to not share the stage with those from nations who engage in the killing of children and civilians. The EBU should ban Israel just as it did with Russia.

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