Icelandic musicians demand the boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest over Israel’s involvement

Icelandic musicians have demanded the country boycott the Eurovision Song Contest unless Israel is banned from taking part.

The Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT) wants the country’s national broadcaster, RUV, to halt its participation in the Eurovision Song Contest show if Israel remains in the competition, reports Sky News.

Similar calls for bans were made in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia was ultimately banned from the competition, with Ukraine winning later that year.

In a statement, the FTT said: „We all have a duty to take a stand against war and the killing of civilians and innocent children.”

„We owe it to the nations that act with military force to not share with them in an event that is always characterised by joy and optimism.”

Pro-Palestinian activists and groups have also called for a boycott, while Ireland’s RTE is also reported to have received hundreds of emails asking it to boycott next year’s contest.

Israel came third in the 2023 contest with Noa Kirel’s dance-pop tune Unicorn. Kirel had previously served as a soldier in the Israel Defence Forces.

Sky News contacted the European Broadcast Union (EBU), the show’s organisers, and Israeli public broadcaster Kan for comment.

The European Broadcast Union (EBU), an alliance of public service broadcasters, said in a statement: „It is a competition for broadcasters – not governments – and the Israeli public broadcaster has participated in the contest for 50 years.”

„EBU is aligned with other international organisations that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time.”

Both Iceland and Israel have confirmed their participation in next year’s contest in Sweden but have not selected entries.