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Israel selects Eurovision 2024 entry amidst calls for boycott

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Israel has chosen their Eurovision entry as organisers face calls to ban the country over the war in Gaza.

Singer Eden Golan was chosen to represent the country in the song contest. The 20-year-old singer was selected via a television talent show after she performed a cover of  Aerosmith‘s 1998 hit track ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’.

Per BBC, the singer took the time to dedicate it to the more than 130 Israeli hostages still being held in Gaza. “We won’t truly be OK until everyone returns home,” she said.

The announcement of Israel’s Eurovision 2024 entry comes in the midst of the contest receiving backlash and boycott calls after allowing the country to compete. The country has been included on the list of participating contestants in Sweden in 2024 leading many to call for the country to be banned from the contest due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Many on social media have criticised the decision.“I’m 100% boycotting Eurovision because they decided to include Israel and Azerbaijan despite their atrocities and crimes against humanity. What a nasty organization,” one said. Another added: “If you think the world will watch as you whitewash Israel’s genocide of Palestinians, you’re mistaken.”

Elsewhere, over 1,000 Swedish artists called for Israel to be banned from this year’s Contest, including the likes of RobynFever Ray, and First Aid Kit. They are among those who signed an open letter to the European Broadcast Union (EBU), calling for Israel to not be allowed to compete in the competition – which is set to hold its finale in Malmö, Sweden on May 11.

“The fact that countries that place themselves above humanitarian law are welcomed to participate in international cultural events trivialises violations of international law and makes the suffering of the victims invisible,” the letter reads.

Continuing, it adds that: “Allowing Israel’s participation undermines not only the spirit of the competition but the entire public service mission. It also sends the signal that governments can commit war crimes without consequences.”

Over 1,400 Finnish music industry professionals have signed a petition to ban the country from taking part of the contest as well.

The petition urges a ban over alleged “war crimes” in Gaza, adding that if Israel is not excluded, they want public broadcaster Yle to withdraw Finland’s entry.

Yle said it is monitoring the position of the organiser of the contest, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Back in December, Olly Alexander – who will be representing the UK this year – signed a pro-Palestine letter which calls Israel an “apartheid state” and accuses it of genocide.

Before he was confirmed as the UK’s Eurovision entrant, Alexander signed an open letter from LGBTQ+ activist group Voices4London, which called for a ceasefire in Gaza and for Israel to allow aid into the area. The letter also condemned “Zionist propaganda” amid the war with Hamas.

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