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Could Israel be disqualified from Eurovision 2024?

​Noa Kirel from Israel performs during the grand final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, Britain, May 13, 2023.

Noa Kirel from Israel performs during the grand final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, Britain, May 13, 2023.

REUTERS/Phil Noble

The search is underway for representatives from each of the 37 countries participating in the 2024 Eurovision song contest. The competition’s slogan might be United by Music, but as always, politics are never far from the stage.

This year, the controversy concerns Israel. Calls are growing for the country to be kicked out over its assault on the Gaza Strip, which has drawn accusations of war crimes and genocide. Many are citing as a precedent the 2022 expulsion of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Israel’s entry: 20 year oldEden Golan was selected after performing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” to a hall of empty chairs, meant as a tribute to the Gaza hostages. Israel has been in Eurovision since the 1970s and has won four times — most recently in 2018.

Could Israel be expelled? Entries can be fined or disqualified for bringing politics onto the stage. But Israel’s expulsion is unlikely at this point. The final say rests with Eurovision officials, and so far they’re singing an evasive tune, saying, “Comparisons between wars and conflicts are complex and difficult and, as a nonpolitical media organization, not ours to make.”

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