Friday 10 May 2024 - 11:37

Thousands in Sweden Protest Israel's Participation in Eurovision Song Contest

Story Code : 1134078
Thousands in Sweden Protest Israel
This year's Eurovision song contest has become embroiled in the ongoing wave of pro-Palestinian protests, with Israel's participation and song choice sparking widespread demonstrations across the United States, Europe, and beyond.

In Malmo, Sweden, thousands of pro-Palestine activists, including climate change activist Greta Thunberg, gathered to voice their opposition to Israel's inclusion in the contest. Demonstrators, adorned with keffiyehs and Palestinian flags, flooded the port city ahead of the scheduled second semifinal.

Amani Eli-Ali, a Malmo resident of Palestinian descent, emphasized the significance of the protest, stating, "It's not OK for Sweden to arrange this Eurovision and have Israel in the contest."

The calls to exclude Israel from Eurovision have amplified amidst the backdrop of Israel's genocidal war in Gaza, with Palestinian authorities reporting a significant death toll after at least 34,904 people have been killed and 78,514 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

The Israeli war, sparked by an attack on the occupied territories by Palestinian resistance groups in response to years of Zionists’ aggression, has intensified the demands for Israel's removal from the competition.

While Eurovision has resisted expulsion requests, it has urged Israel to alter the lyrics of its original song, "October Rain," citing political motivations. Critics have underscored the apparent double standard by drawing parallels with past actions, such as the expulsion of Russia in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine and the exclusion of Belarus the previous year due to a crackdown on protesters.

Despite concerns raised by the Israeli regime regarding potential attacks, Swedish police reported relative calm during the protests. A Palestinian protester named Amar highlighted the global hypocrisy and double standards driving the demonstration.

Notably, climate change activist Greta Thunberg joined over 10,000 protesters in Malmo, rallying against Israel's participation in the Eurovision song contest. The demonstration culminated in a march through the city center, drawing attention to the controversy surrounding Israel's involvement.

The persistent calls for Israel's exclusion from the contest have been echoed by hundreds of artists in Sweden and beyond, citing Israel's crimes in Gaza as justification for the ban.

Despite facing opposition, Israel secured a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final in Sweden, with the Israeli entrant encountering boos during the semifinal rehearsals. Amid heightened security in Malmo, where the final is set to take place, tensions surrounding Israel's participation continue to simmer.