The Icelandic band Hatari created a stir at Eurovision 2019 when they displayed banners in support of Palestine, highlighting the controversial nature of this year’s competition hosted in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The band, who landed the tenth place in the Eurovision song contest, have said they are against Israel hosting the contest and describe it as “whitewash,” which has been the subject of boycott calls by pro-Palestinian groups.
— Metro (@MetroUK) May 18, 2019
While the public vote was being announced, members of Hatari held up the banners, reading Palestine, as cameras turned to them.
In addition, Einar Stef, one of the band’s members, posted a video on his personal Instagram profile, showing staff confiscating one of the banners and demanding the rest of them to be handed over.
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Despite Hatari’s pro-Palestinian protest during the song contest, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which called for a “total boycott,” dismissed it and said in a statement:
“Artists who insist on crossing the Palestinian boycott picket line, playing in Tel Aviv in defiance of our calls, cannot offset the harm they do to our human rights struggle by ‘balancing’ their complicit act with some project with Palestinians. Palestinian civil society overwhelmingly rejects this fig-leafing. The most meaningful expression of solidarity is to cancel performances in apartheid Israel.”
— Villi (@Mellowastaken) May 18, 2019
In April, some 171 Swedish artists and celebrities have signed an open letter urging to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and stressed that “as long as Israel, with its apartheid policy, denies the Palestinians their basic human rights, we must renounce all participation in Israeli cultural exchanges.”
In September 2018, over 140 artists from around the world, including six Israeli artists, signed a letter calling for the boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and demanding the song contest should be boycotted if it is “hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights.”
— Karl Baird (@Jorarl) May 18, 2019
Performing in Israel still remains highly politicized, with many criticizing that Israel’s military action towards the Palestinians is more than enough to justify a cultural boycott.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)