Right now, the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is underway in Israel, with a whole host of fascinating pop singers. It’s the third time that the country has hosed Eurovision, and many in Israel are happy to party the night away. In all, about 180 million people all across the globe are tuning in to witness the musical extravaganza.
The reveling happens as Israel’s government holds the Gaza Strip under blockade, occupies the West Bank and has annexed the Golan Heights.
Should Eurovision be a platform for talking about this situation? To address issues in general?
Israel’s Eurovision organizers clearly don’t think so and have refused to comment on the situation. Singers are forbidden from making statements on stage. And the pop icon Madonna, who plays a show on Saturday, has been told to stick to music. Only one Israeli band flouted the ban on statements, calling Israel an “apartheid” state for its exclusion of Palestinians.
A political event
Israel, has presented its hosting of Eurovision as evidence of what a tolerant and cosmopolitan democracy it is.
All this makes Eurovision a political event; it has always been this way: After World War II, the contest became a symbol of reconciliation in Western Europe. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, it stood for the unity of east…