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Statement from EBU Director General Noel Curran on Israeli participation (issued from 31 Jan 2024)

We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East. We can’t fail to be moved by the profound suffering of all those caught up in this terrible war. A lot of the images from Israel and Gaza that audiences are watching every day are provided through the EBU News Exchange, which we run with our members.

However, the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political music event and a competition between public service broadcasters who are members of the EBU. It is not a contest between governments.

As a member-led organization, our governing bodies – the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group and the Executive Board – did review the participants list for the 2024 Contest and agreed that the Israeli public broadcaster KAN met all the competition rules for this year and can participate as it has for the past 50 years.

We are aware of the many voices calling to exclude Israel from this year’s competition in the same way as we excluded the Russian broadcaster in 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine. Comparisons between wars and conflicts are complex and difficult and, as a non-political media organization, not ours to make. In the case of Russia, the Russian broadcasters themselves were suspended from the EBU due to their persistent breaches of membership obligations and the violation of public service values.

The relationship between KAN and the Israeli Government is fundamentally different to the relationship that exists between those Russian Members and the State, with the Israeli Government in recent years threatening to close down the broadcaster.

The EBU is aligned with other international organizations, including sports unions and federations and other international bodies, that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time.

We remain committed to ensuring the Eurovision Song Contest remains a non-political event that continues to unite audiences worldwide through music.

Why is Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest?

The Eurovision Song Contest is open to all members of the European Broadcasting Union which represents broadcasters from right across Europe and the Middle East.

The Israeli public service broadcaster has been a member of the EBU since 1957 and has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for 50 years.

The Eurovision Song Contest remains a non-political event that unites audiences around the world through music.

Why is Israel still a Member of the EBU when Russia was suspended?

As a non-political organization, the EBU’s role is to support public service broadcasters throughout Europe and the Middle East.

The Israel public service broadcaster has been a member of the EBU for over 60 years. The Russian public service broadcasters had their EBU membership suspended in 2022 due to consistent breaches of membership obligations and the violation of public service media values.

Why is the Israeli entry eligible to compete?

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) can confirm that the official submission from its Israeli Member Kan has been deemed eligible to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in May.

The Contest's Reference Group, its governing board, made the decision to accept the song 'Hurricane' for the upcoming competition after careful scrutiny of the lyrics.

It was agreed that 'Hurricane' met the necessary criteria for participation in accordance with the rules of the competition.

Will there be more security than usual this year, because of the fact the Israel is competing?

We take the safety of attendees and staff at the Eurovision Song Contest very seriously. We continue to work closely with SVT, the City of Malmö, Malmö Arena, the local Police and other law enforcement agencies and feel confident in being able to create a safe event for all participants and visitors in May.

How will the EBU react if there are protests in Malmö?

The EBU is a firm advocate for freedom of speech and the right for people to express their deeply held views and opinions. We understand that people may wish to make their voices heard and support the right of those who wish to demonstrate peacefully.

What does the EBU think about the fact that many people have said they will boycott Eurovision this year, because Israel is allowed to compete?

We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East but the Eurovision Song Contest’s values of universality, inclusivity and celebrating diversity through music have never been more important. Hundreds of millions around the world share those values and engaged with the event on television and online in 2023. We look forward to being “United By Music” again this year.

You still have questions ?

You can reach the organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest via the following addresses; public inquiries, questions and suggestions can be sent to [email protected], media inquiries can be sent to [email protected].
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