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24 May, 2024
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Israel's eurovision entry faces political backlash

Israel warns of withdrawal amid song dispute


Israel warned today that it would withdraw from this year's Eurovision contest if organizers reject the lyrics of its song as too politically charged.

Eden Golan and her song "October Rain" were selected to participate in the annual competition, set to take place in May in Malmo, Sweden. While the song's lyrics do not explicitly mention Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7, they leave no doubt it refers to it, according to Israeli media and observers.

"Dancing in the storm/We have nothing to hide/Take me home/And leave the world behind/And I promise it won't happen again/I am still wet from this October rain/October rain," are some of the lyrics of the song published by Israel's public broadcaster KAN.

The question for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the contest's organizer, is whether the lyrics of this song can be considered political statements, which Eurovision prohibits. The EBU said it is "examining the lyrics" and that a final decision has not yet been made.

"If a song is deemed unacceptable for any reason, broadcasters have the option to submit a new song or lyrics, according to the competition's rules," emphasized the EBU.

KAN said this week it was "in discussions" with the EBU about the country's participation in Eurovision. But it also warned that it "does not intend to replace the song." "This means that if not approved by the EBU, Israel will not be able to participate in the contest," it added.

The prospect of a ban sparked anger from Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who called it "scandalous." The song is "moving" and "expresses the feelings of the people and the country these days and is not political," she wrote on social media.

Cyprus  |  eurovision  |  politics  |  music

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