All Israel

Eurovision claims Israel’s song entry 'political,' threatens disqualification

Eden Golan performs on "The Next Star," Nov. 23, 2023. (Photo: Screenshot

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is considering disqualifying Israel from the Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place in May.

EBU is claiming that Israel’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, “October Rain,” has “political lyrics” and could, therefore, be excluded from the singing competition.

According to EBU’s rules, songs entered in the Eurovision Song Contest may not contain overt political messages. The song’s title refers to the October 7 massacre and was written by Avi Ohion, Keren Peles, and Stav Beger.

The song is set to be performed by Eden Golan, who won the Next Star competition in Israel (Kochav Haba), the local content that determines who represents Israel in Eurovision.

EBU’s warning comes after repeated calls for a boycott and exclusion of Israel from the competition. EBU previously responded to those calls by saying that there were no grounds for excluding Israel.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a competition for public service broadcasters from across Europe and the Middle East. It is a competition for broadcasters – not governments – and the Israeli public broadcaster has participated in the Contest for 50 years,” the organization said in a statement in December in response to calls from The Association of Composers and Lyricists of Iceland (FTT) to boycott Eurovision unless Israel is excluded from it.

“We are a member-led organisation. The governing bodies of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – headed by the Executive Board – represent the membership. These bodies have reviewed the participants list and agreed that the Israeli public broadcaster KAN meets all the competition rules and can participate in the Contest next year in Malmö, Sweden, alongside 36 other broadcasters,” the EBU added at the time.

The EBU has now said it is “currently in the process of carefully examining the lyrics – a confidential process between the EBU and the Public Broadcasting Corporation until a final decision is made. All broadcasters have until March 11 to officially submit their songs.”

The EBU also stated that a song that does not meet the criteria “is given the opportunity to submit a new song or new lyrics in accordance with the competition rules.”

The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, Kan, said that it is “in dialogue with the EBU regarding the song that will represent Israel at Eurovision”. Kan made it clear in a statement on Wednesday, however, that Israel will not change the lyrics in order to be accepted to the competition.

Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar said that the EBU’s behavior was “scandalous,” and argued that the song is not political.

The entry “is a moving song, which expresses the feelings of the people and the country these days and is not political,” he stated. 

“We all hope that Eurovision will remain a musical and cultural event and not a political arena – where the participating countries can bring their uniqueness and nationality to the stage through music.”

The minister went on to ask the EBU “to continue to act professionally and neutrally, and not to let politics affect art.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories