Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeAl JazeeraA Eurovision like no different: Israel’s struggle on Gaza takes centre degree...

A Eurovision like no different: Israel’s struggle on Gaza takes centre degree | Israel Conflict on Gaza Information


Stockholm, Sweden – Malmo is rarely the centre of attention, but this week, the spotlight is on as the Eurovision Song Contest dominates Sweden’s third-largest city.

More than 150 million people tune into the annual competition that organisers say is apolitical.

This year’s event is likely to be far from it, however.

Israel is set to participate amid protests and calls for a boycott given its war on Gaza that has to date killed more than 34,500 Palestinians.

“Falastinvision”, for instance, is billed as an alternative “genocide-free” song contest. Stop the war, Women’s song for Gaza and Long live Palestine are among the more than 30 entries that can be voted for online, with a winner to be announced on May 11 – the same day as the Eurovision finale.

In the run-up to Eurovision, more than 1,000 Swedish artists demanded a ban on Israel but their calls were rejected. Israel is participating with Hurricane – the song had previously been titled October Rain, an apparent reference to Hamas’s October 7 attacks, which organisers deemed too political.

The group that governs Gaza launched an unprecedented incursion into southern Gaza seven months ago, during which 1,139 people were killed. Hundreds were also taken captive during the assault, which sharply escalated the historic Israel-Palestine conflict.

But as well as the expected pro-Palestine events in Sweden, which activists hope tens of thousands will attend, there are a series of planned Quran burnings, giving the Malmo municipality a complex mix of issues to contend with.

Since demonstrations and counter-demonstrations heighten the security threat, Swedish police will be joined by Danish and Norwegian officers for the week.

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